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Summary: When God gives and when He takes away, our only right response is praise.

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ME

That song speaks to the heart of where we’re going to be for the next couple of week… Listen to the words… words that you just sang…

Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful

Where Your streams of abundance flow, blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name when I’m found in the desert place

Though I walk through the wilderness, blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name when the sun is shining down on me

When the worlds "all that it should be", blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering

Though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your name

You give and take away, You give and take away

My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name

When God gives and when God takes away, our only right response is praise!

Now, before we go any further down that path let take a short time out and kind of set this series up. We’re moving towards Thanksgiving and I want to point out a couple of things…

According to Wal-Mart, Target, Lowes, Home Depot and other retailers – we have officially entered the Christmas season…

I’m not sure when this took place but we don’t have Thanksgiving any more. We have Halloween and then Christmas. I’m not even kidding when I say that I have neighbors who put up Halloween lights and then when Halloween is over they put up Christmas lights.

… This isn’t like the Hoosiers in my neighborhood who leave their Christmas lights up all year long… The people I’m talking about decorate for Halloween and then they decorate for Christmas.

I read somewhere that Christmas is the biggest money making holiday in America and Halloween is the second largest money making holiday. In all of the money to be made on the “Big Two” holidays, Thanksgiving tends to get lost in the shuffle.

I realize that there’s no Biblical mandate to celebrate Thanksgiving. (It’s primarily an American holiday. It was actually made law in 1941 when congress set it as the 4th Thursday of November and F.D.R. signed it into law). Not to mention that Thanksgiving isn’t for three more weeks.

Celebrating the American Holiday of Thanksgiving isn’t a Biblical command…

… but having a heart of thanksgiving IS a biblical mandate. And THAT’S where we’re going today. In fact, for the next couple of weeks we’re going to focus on what it really means to have a thankful heart. What it really means to give God praise, regardless of our situation.

The Bible tells us… “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)

More than a thanksgiving issue, this is a worship issue. When Jesus is the central focus of our lives… when we worship Jesus first, foremost and because of who he is and not for what he gives us… then we are able to give God praise – we are able to give God thanks in EVERY situation.

Like the song says…

Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your name

WE

So, where are WE on this thing? Do we give God thanks in EVERY situation? Do we take every blessing and turn it back to praise? When the darkness closes in, do we still say, LORD – JESUS, BLESSED BE YOUR NAME?

I think we all know the drill… The pastor says “it’s easy to bless Jesus when things are good, but when things get tough how do we do?” That’s the conventional wisdom.

But I want to challenge the conventional wisdom.

I don’t think we find it easy to bless him in the good times. I don’t think we turn every blessing back to praise any better than we say “blessed be Your Name” when the darkness begins to surround us.

We struggle to give him the praise and glory he deserves - EVER

So, we’re going to focus on giving thanks and praise to God IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES.

When God gives and when God takes away, our only right response is praise!

GOD

Open your Bibles to Luke 17:11-19

If you don’t have a Bible, raise your hand and our ushers will make sure you have one so you can follow along.

[ushers hand out bibles to those who need them]

As you’re turning to Luke, let me give you some important info regarding the use of language and specifically the word “Praise” because that word is the center point of what we’re talking about.

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