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An Old Reason For A New Thankfulness

A Call to the Nation / Carter Conlon
The Truth Network Radio
November 20, 2022 1:00 am

An Old Reason For A New Thankfulness

A Call to the Nation / Carter Conlon

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November 20, 2022 1:00 am

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An Old Reason For A New Thankfulness

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Welcome, and thank you for joining us for Carter Conlon's 2022 Thanksgiving special, An Old Reason for a New Thankfulness. How do we keep a thankful heart? What is it that God has done in the past that will give us the ability to be thankful and to have confidence? How can we raise our hands in the sight of our children at home?

Let's be real. It can be difficult to give thanks when you're afraid. Join Carter as he takes us back to Egypt in the book of Exodus chapter 12, during a time where the judgment of God had fallen on a nation, but also a promise that he would take them out. In the midst of that particular time and the perilous times we live in today, how can we keep a thankful and grateful heart? In this Thanksgiving special, Carter encourages us to shift our focus from the problem to the victory of Christ, reminding us of the goodness of God and how he continues to be faithful. Join with us and discover an old reason for a new thankfulness.

This is Carter Conlon today, and it's such a privilege to be here to celebrate this Thanksgiving with you. And today I want to talk to you about an old reason for a new thankfulness. There's a verse of scripture in Hebrews chapter 13 and verse 8, and it says these words, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And that brings such a thankfulness into my heart because I know his character and I know his actions in the past and what he has done to protect his own people in calamitous times and times of persecution and times when they had fallen out of favor with the society of their day, just as you and I have in our time. Times of upheaval, times of judgment and natural disasters happening on a nation.

When we visit eventually Egypt in the seasons where God was about to bring his people out of this particularly horrendous captivity. And knowing what he has done in the past and knowing that he's the same today as he always has been gives me an understanding, and it should give you an understanding of how is he going to deal with this present situation that we're now facing. We're living in an increasingly hostile world to the ways of God and to the people of God, and there's no real evidence that this is going to get any better.

As a matter of fact, it will probably get deeper and darker in the days ahead. And I know there's a lot of fear in a lot of people's hearts, and so it's Thanksgiving. We have a tendency to look back to the pilgrims landing on the shores of Plymouth celebrating with the native people of that time and just thanking God for his goodness and this great victory. And so we look back to that occasion and somehow it's hard to kind of fit it into where we are today when, you know, there's talk of food shortage, there's upheaval in our cities. It seems to be that we're not, as the people of God, we're not welcomed with open arms. People are not bringing food to us and celebrating the goodness of our God.

But here we are in a situation of increasing hostility. When we're living in fear for our children, for their future, we don't have any security anymore in the things that we want held to be very dear or perhaps offered as some kind of security for the future. And it's hard to give thanks when you're afraid. It's hard to lift up our voices with adoration and glory to God when we look ahead and we don't see a future. You know, there's so many people in our generation now that are turning to opiates and addiction, and many are overdosing and suffering the consequences of that. And they're looking to somehow pacify the fears and the frustrations of their heart with substance abuse. When God has already provided everything that we need for our lives, for our hearts, for our minds, and He has proven His faithfulness in the past.

I want to take a look at that in just a moment. But the Apostle Paul, in 2 Timothy 3, really adequately described the day that you and I are now living in. You know, back in the day when he wrote to Timothy these words, he saw it as a future event that was coming. Paul didn't know how far it was going to be down the road.

It turned out to be a couple of thousand years. But what Paul saw in the Spirit, we're actually now seeing in the natural. We don't have to see it in the Spirit anymore. It's now all around us in this generation. But Paul said these words in 2 Timothy 3. He said, Know this, in the last days perilous times will come.

Now, who can debate that? It's a time of upheaval. It's a time of social unrest. It's a time of evil speaking. It's a time of finger pointing and judging.

And actually, even some people in some forms of leadership are even hinting at violence in the days ahead to achieve their objectives. It talks about men being lovers of themselves. You know, the love of many has grown so cold for other people. The care and compassion that we should have for one another seems to have fallen by the roadside. And just so many people are into what they're doing just for themselves.

Lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. I mean, can it get any worse than what Paul saw? He saw a complete moral and social breakdown on a scale almost unimaginable to us. And we're starting to see this in the world today.

We're starting to experience it even within our own borders. And verse 5 of 2 Timothy chapter 3, he says, having a form of godliness, but denying its power from such people turn away. So all of this evilness that gets a hold of humanity is covered up with some kind of a religious pretense. Maybe a lot of these people still go to what they think is church or whatever their place of worship is, and it will be all form.

It's all exterior. The power they're denying is the power to transform the human heart. They're going to church, but they're still lovers of money, lovers of themselves, boasters, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, no self-control, headstrong, lovers of pleasure, and yet they go to church on Sunday, covering the whole thing up with a form of religion. Elsewhere in the Scripture, Paul says there's going to be a great falling away in the last days.

It doesn't mean people won't go to church. They just have fallen away from God. They've fallen away from a true relationship with God, and they've substituted it for a form of godliness with no power to redeem or no power to alter those sin behaviors that become part of our nature and start manifesting themselves when we don't have anything greater within us to counter it, to eradicate it, to bring it in subjection, as Paul says does happen because of the presence of God's Holy Spirit.

There's going to be a religion that creeps into houses, and it takes all kinds of gullible people captive. The Scripture says they're laden with lust. They've never understood the call of the cross. They've never understood what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, and they're going to be taken captive by this form of godliness that has no power to transform the human life. In verse 8, he says, Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, these also resist the truth.

Men of corrupt minds disapprove concerning the faith, but they will progress no further. Their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. This is speaking of the day when Moses came into Egypt, he and Aaron, and they cast down their rod in the sight of Pharaoh to show that the power of God was with them. Now, the spiritist religion of the day, they were able to imitate some of the signs that were happening through what Moses and Aaron was doing, not just in the casting down of the rods, but also in the judgments that were coming upon the nation.

But eventually their power ran dry. Eventually their folly, their foolishness, their limitations, their inability in a sense to offer hope and life for the future became evident to all. And that's what form of religion will always do it. Well, it will ultimately, as the days grow darker, the people who adhere to it will finally realize that they have been deceived and that they are bankrupt, that they have no light.

They can't see their way into the future. Paul goes on in verse 10, says, But you have carefully followed my doctrine, my manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, and perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, what's happened to me at Antioch and Iconium and Lystra, what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, verse 12, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. You know, Peter says, the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter chapter 4 in verse 12 says to the people of his time, Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial that is coming to try you, as if some strange thing has happened to you. In other words, don't be deceived into thinking that because you've become a follower of Jesus Christ that it's going to be smooth sailing for you all the rest of your life. Jesus himself settled the issue when he said, In this world you shall have tribulation. In other words, you're going to have trouble.

There's going to be trial. And any religion that tells you that to come to Christ means it's going to be happiness and health and smooth sailing for the rest of your days is not theologically correct. As a believer in Christ, you will have trials and difficulties and troubles. So when it comes, as it is coming right now, don't be offended, don't cast away your confidence, and somehow don't think you've gotten a hold of the wrong religion as it is, the wrong relationship with God. You and I were forewarned that these days would be tumultuous days.

They should not be taking any of us by surprise. Now the question is, knowing these things, how do we keep a thankful heart? What is it that God has done in the past that will give us the ability to be thankful and to have confidence?

How can we raise our hands in the sight of our children at home? How can we, especially with everything falling down around us, how do we keep a positive attitude? How do we enjoy the presence of God? How do we convey to our families and to our children and to our friends, how do we convey to them that God is a faithful God? Well, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The Christ that was with the people of God in the seasons that they've gone through in the past is the same Christ that will carry us through our times of trial and difficulty, and He will do so in such a way that glory will be brought to His name. He won't just give us the ability to escape, but He will do it in such a manner that His name is glorified. Think for a moment of the people of God in Israel, who were held captive by the most powerful military and nation in that part of the world at that time, how God brought them out. And the Scripture says He brought them out with a high hand, and even the people of the nation granted them favor because they knew God was with these people.

And He brought His own name to glory and reputation by the way in which He chose to deliver His people. You think of the book of Acts chapter 2, when in a society dominated by a foreign power with literally a bloodlust in the air because they had just crucified Christ, the whole of society is not in the mood for any of the followers of Christ. And yet these 120 ordinary people step out of an upper room having prayed, and the glory of God is upon them. And thousands begin to bend their knees to the lordship of Jesus Christ. And through this formidable army that had no natural weapons, but they were loaded with spiritual weapons, suddenly in the future even Rome itself was going to acknowledge Christ and declare Christianity in the form that they chose to, history shows us.

But they declared it to be the religion of the nation, an acceptable practice, a long way from having crucified Christ. But God delivered His people again, and as Jesus Christ has delivered His people all throughout history, He will also deliver us in this time in a way that will cause our hearts in advance to be full of thankfulness. And this is what my prayer is for you today, that this won't be something that you look back in retrospect and give thanks, but maybe, just maybe, could we give thanks now? Could we thank Him for His faithfulness? Could we say to our children in our homes, God will keep us? God will not abandon us. God will not allow us to be overcome by the darkness of this time, even though it looks dire in the natural.

It is never dire because God is in complete control. Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of all power. He has triumphed over all the powers of darkness. We are His people. He is our head, and we are the body. And we will never be conquered by any darkness because we are already more than conquerors through Jesus Christ.

Let's take a moment. Let's go back into Egypt. It's the book of Exodus chapter 12. The judgments of God have fallen on the nation of Egypt. As a matter of fact, the nation is virtually decimated. They've lost their crops. They've lost their cattle.

They've lost in measure their health. There's been indisputable signs of the judgment of God that has fallen on that whole society. And the promise of God now to His people is that I'm going to take you out from among them in the midst of this judgment.

That this judgment is not going to be—though they are going to suffer in the future, though they're going to be brought down as a world power—you are not going to be destroyed as the people of God. Now in chapter 12, verse 1, it says, The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, and saying, This month shall be your beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you. This thanksgiving day. If you haven't been giving thanks to God, could this be the first month of giving thanks all over again? If you've been wringing your hands and saying, Oh, woe is us, and have you considered the judgments coming on the nation? If you've been sitting at your dinner table with your children and wringing your hands literally every day talking about some new judgment that's come upon the nation, some new corner of confusion, some new religious deception, some new financial collapse, whatever, some new war that's broken out in the earth, may I encourage you to let this be your beginning—the beginning of giving thanks to God, the beginning of saying, Lord God, you have always been faithful. I have been reading the Scriptures, and today I have discovered an old reason for a new thankfulness.

This is the beginning of months, and it's so easy to become a complainer. Anybody can do that. It takes no character whatsoever.

It doesn't take any understanding of anything. But faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God. And we're looking at the Word of God now as to what God has done in the past, keeping in mind the context that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So the same Christ in this passage of Scripture is with you and with your family today, and God will be faithful to you. God will keep you. God will provide for you.

God will take you to the place you need to go, and He will give you everything you need to get you through this part of your journey. Now the Lord said again to Moses in verse 3, speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons, according to each man's need, you shall make your count for the lamb. In other words, let everyone, let everyone, everyone return to the victory of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world. Let everyone say, God, would you give me the confidence to trust in your victory again? Would you open your Word to me and to my house, to my family? And if my family is small to my friends that I will invite into my table, God, would you help us to focus on your victory again? Would you help us to focus on your promises, everything you have said that you are going to give us to get us through these difficult days? Would you help us to turn back to the victory of the Lamb of God and turn away from the news media and all of their vilification of one another and their woes and threatenings and blamings?

And would you help us to turn away from that being our source of information and help us to get our information again from the Word of God? Oh God, let us again turn to the victory of the Lamb of God. Verse 5 says, Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year, and you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. And you think of Jesus Christ, a lamb without spot, a lamb without blemish, the Lamb of God who came into this world and walked among us for 33 years, had a public ministry for three years, then went to a cross and paid the price once and for all for the sin that separated every man and woman and child from God. By opening our hearts and receiving Him as Lord and Savior, the distance between us and God has now been bridged by His sacrifice.

We are brought back into right relationship with God. And Jesus said, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you. In other words, I give you power to believe the promises that I have made to you. I will not fail you. I will not forsake you. I will be there when you need Me in your deepest, darkest time.

I will always be God to you. Now, He says in verse six, you shall keep it until the 14th day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. Just think about what happened on Calvary. The whole assembly came together and they said, crucify Him. They put the Son of God on a cross, not realizing that what they thought was one kind of a victory was actually another kind of a victory. They thought they were getting rid of Christ. And in reality, Christ was making a way that they could come back to Him.

It's just an amazing scene that was before them. And then He says, you will take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. And the beauty of this whole picture is when you picture a doorframe and you put blood on the top post in the center and on both sides, it is a type of the cross. It's an actual picture of the cross. You think of the crown of thorns on the head of Jesus that caused the blood to come down, down to probably the back of His neck and His head and stained that part of the cross.

Then you think of the blood that dripped from His hands and His wrists on both sides. In a sense, you have a complete picture of the cross of Jesus Christ right here. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. And this is once you put the blood on the doorposts, once you've opened your heart, once you have invited Christ into your life, once you have trusted Him for your redemption, now you begin to trust Him for your household and you begin to trust Him for your family. So I want to encourage moms and dads that are listening and guardians of children to say, God, though I may not see it with my eyes, I trust You for my children.

I trust You for my grandchildren. I trust You, my God, that as I have chosen to put the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts of my house, that the death that is touching this generation will not touch my family. God Almighty, the strength of my house will not be taken away. The darkness of this moment will not engulf me or my family. As Joshua once said, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

And so you can have confidence, you can have thankfulness that no matter what's happening in this generation, no matter what plague is passing over, it will in effect pass over you and cannot take away your confidence and cannot take away the goodness of God that He promises to you and to your family. Verse 8 says, Then they shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in the fire. With unleavened bread and with bitter herbs shall they eat it.

And this is so symbolic. It means that you begin to feast on the victory of Christ. You begin to feast on the promises of God that became a reality in every heart, in every home, because of the victory in Christ. And unleavened bread, leaven in the Bible always speaks of hypocrisy. In the New Testament it speaks of the leaven of hypocrisy. Unleavened bread means you eat the promises of God and the victory of God through Christ without hypocrisy.

What a contrast to the religion of the day, which is going to have a form of godliness without power, a form in a sense that is filled with hypocrisy, that really doesn't want the change that the cross promised, doesn't want the life that God promises to give to those who belong to Him, just wants a form of religion to pacify its conscience. But to the people of God, He says, eat this lamb with unleavened bread, with no hypocrisy. Say, God, I want the life that you have for me. The thoughts that you have for me, I want those to be the thoughts of my heart and the thoughts of my life.

And the plan that you have for my life, let that be my plan. And then it goes on to say, and with bitter herbs shall they eat it. In other words, don't just look for the sweet things, eat all the things. The things in the Word of God that are pleasing to the taste and the things that you just say, oh, God forbid that that should be my portion, but eat it all.

Because you and I don't know. You can't just live on the sweet. If you try to live on candy, you're going to lose your teeth and you're going to get unhealthy eventually.

You have to eat a balanced diet. So don't just look for the sweet things. But there are some bitter things in there too.

And don't put them away just because maybe you don't find them palatable. Now it goes on and says, and thus shall you eat it. Verse 11, with a belt on your waist, sandals on your feet and a staff in your hand. So shall you eat it in haste.

It is the Lord's Passover. If you're truly a servant of God, not only are we going to be preserved, but we're going to be taken on a journey. And this journey is destined to bring glory to the name of God through us. And this journey is coming not at a pleasant time. For these people, it's coming when the nation is being destroyed right before their eyes. A spirit of death is passing over the nation this particular night and the hope and strength, the future of so many families is being taken away from them. But for the people of God, God says, no, this death is not going to touch you or your family.

This spiritual death is not going to touch you. And you're going to eat the promises and the victory I've given to you. And you're going to eat it ready to take a journey. Now, keep in mind, this journey is into the wilderness.

I mean, but it's a journey that's prescribed by God for this particular time. He says, for I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and will strike all the firstborn of the land of Egypt, both men and beasts. And against all the gods of Egypt, I will execute judgment.

I am the Lord. Oh, Psalm 107 verse one says, Oh, give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. And at the end of it, Psalm 107 verses 41 to 43, it says, He sets the poor on high, far from affliction. He makes their families like a flock. The righteous will see it and rejoice.

And all iniquity stops its mouth. Whoever is wise will observe these things and they will understand the loving kindness of the Lord. So God almighty, this Thanksgiving, give us thankful hearts. Help us, Lord Jesus Christ, to rejoice and to bless you before we even undertake the journey. You have been faithful because you are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thank you, God, for the great confidence we have in every heart in Jesus' name. Amen. If you've been listening to Carter Conlon and his 2022 Thanksgiving special, discover an old reason for a new thankfulness. For more information, sermons, daily devotionals and specials, visit
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-20 11:32:54 / 2022-11-20 11:43:04 / 10

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