Here is your weekly newsletter created for listeners and friends of
Paul Heil's "The Gospel Greats" syndicated radio program.

The Gospel Greats Weekly Newsletter
Published November 21, 2017

In This Edition

Paul's Epistle
"Thankful, So Thankful"

Gather ‘round, friends, for a brief lesson regarding English grammar.

If you look up the word "thank" in the dictionary, as I did in my big Webster's, you will find that the word is followed by two little letters: "v.t." That means, as you might recall from your English classes of yore, "verb transitive." And a transitive verb requires an object.

In other words, to "thank" requires that we thank something, or, most commonly, someone.

Now think about the name of our holiday, "Thanksgiving." Right there in the name it says we are giving thanks. But to whom? Whom are we thanking?

Well, that question was answered long ago when the Pilgrims had the first "thanks-giving" (by whatever name they may have applied at the time). They were thanking God for His blessings on them, for their safety, for their health, for the harvest, for their food, for adequate provisions, for their families, for the new land.

As it's expressed in the familiar words of the Doxology, "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow..."

Of course, we can, and should, be thankful to God for those same things as the Pilgrims. But, as Christians, we have so much more for which to be thankful.

Triumphant has a song out currently called "Thankful, So Thankful," and it says it well:

"I'm thankful, so thankful,
for the love that He showed on a cross on a hill where He paid for every sin.
He's faithful and I'm grateful
for the life that He gave so that I could be saved and live forever with Him.
Even in a valley I can say, Lord, I'm thankful."*

On last weekend's broadcast, you heard Jason Clark of the Nelons talk about the importance of giving thanks to God. He put it this way:

"I think a life of gratitude is really, really, supremely important. And gratitude is not based upon the circumstances of our life. It should just be a lifestyle. I was talking with Michael Booth about this just last night. He said, ‘Ain't it just better to live that way?' And I said, ‘I think it's what Jesus was trying to teach us through the Word..."

Jason says it's also what the Apostle Paul was teaching us in 1st Thessalonians 5:18 when he counseled, " everything, give thanks."

Jason admits, "That's easy preaching and hard living sometimes. I realize that. We're just a moment away from our world being turned upside down. But even in the midst of that, the Scripture says, ‘in everything give thanks...this is the will of our Father.' I believe He's trying to teach us that because God draws near to the grateful heart, He draws near to those that praise Him. And so if we really want to know where God's at in the hardest times of life, thank Him. Give Him praise. He's right there."

In other words, our praise, our thankfulness and the expressions of our thanks to God bring us closer to Him – something that pleases the Lord. In fact, James 4:8 tells us, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..." Sincerely thanking God draws us into closer fellowship with Him.

And there's always plenty for which to thank God. As Triumphant's song says, "Even on my worst days I will lift my voice. I have every reason to rejoice."

Be thankful. Very thankful. But every time you think of Thanksgiving, remember that "thanksgiving" means nothing if we're not giving thanks to God for His blessings.

- Paul

*"Thankful, So Thankful," written by Scott Inman and Lee Black, Sunset Gallery Music, Christian Taylor Music BMI, as recorded on Triumphant's "Thankful" CD.
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A printable version of the Epistle above is linked from our newsletter archive page.
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Coming on the broadcast the weekend of November 25th & 26th, 2017:

Countdown:  This will be our monthly official Singing News Top 20 Countdown Edition, based on the chart of Southern Gospel favorites appearing in the magazine's December issue.

Featured Artists:   Our Featured Artists on this program, for the first time as such, will be Debra Perry & Jaidyn's Call. You'll hear songs from their current "It's Time To Walk On Water" CD, including their current Top 20 hit (their first) as well as that title song and more. You'll find out the unusual and very personal reason why they call themselves "Jaidyn's Call." Please join us for our visit with Debra Perry & Jaidyn's Call.

Other Guests:  Among other guests on the program you'll hear Ernie Haase (Signature Sound), Richard Hyssong (Hyssongs), Randy Crawford (Kingsmen), Jason Crabb and others.

Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?
Click here to hear the audio announcement regarding this next program.
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From the broadcast the weekend of November 18th & 19th, 2017:

This was our annual just-before-Thanksgiving "thoughts of thanks" edition. All of our artist comments and, of course, their songs were devoted to thankfulness to God for His many blessings on our lives each and every day. As usual, "family" was a recurring matter of thankfulness for the artists you heard. But, of course, most mentioned their thankfulness to God for the salvation He's made possible for each of us. We had an unusually good selection of songs of thankfulness this year. I hope you enjoyed it. And I trust it has reminded each of us to ponder all those things for which we should be thankful — and to give the Lord thanks for it all on a continuing basis.

For our friends in Canada, I know you had your national Thanksgiving holiday more than a month ago. But I always try to make our "thoughts of thanks" edition center more around the theme rather than the holiday. And, as I usually mention on these broadcasts, thankfulness to God is something that should go far beyond any specific day of the year. It should be something we "live" each and every day.

For the song list from this broadcast, click on the link below.   (PDF viewer required.)
Hear last weekend's Headline Update report about your favorite artists by clicking on this link.

New items available this week from

  • Torchmen "Faithful" (CD)
  • Gaither "Hymns In The Heartland" (2-CD Set)

Click here to view those Southern Gospel music items in the current Springside Music Update newsletter — including 20 percent discounts on the week's new releases. Or get the Springside Music Update newsletter by email directly each Thursday morning. Details can be found here. Or call 800 38 MUSIC during weekday office hours to ask about current specials or to order. Your purchases from Springside help support The Gospel Greats program.

Shelia Shares

We are all made differently and our jobs for the Kingdom of God are not the same. This devotional by Pastor Bill, shared here by permission, might open our eyes to what God is calling us to do. To get his daily devotional, go to and click on the link for devotionals.

- Shelia

"The River"
by Pastor Bill

Scripture: 1 John 3:8: "When people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil."  (NLT Bible Paraphrase)

Walking through the forest, a seasoned hiker came upon a broad, slowly moving river. He stopped to gaze over the waters, appreciating the beauty, when suddenly he heard a faint cry coming from upstream.

Looking in the direction of the noise, he saw an obviously drowning man floundering in the river and drifting slowly toward him.

The hiker was stunned momentarily, but he sprang into action when he saw the man disappear beneath the waters. Throwing off all of his cumbersome gear, he dove into the river and swam like a madman toward the spot where the man went under.

Upon reaching the spot he plunged below the surface and frantically hauled up the helpless man. He then laboriously towed the victim to shore. Heaving the lifeless body up on the riverbank, the hiker attempted to revive the man, who eventually spit up water and began to breathe.

Relieved, the hiker paused to catch his breath. But no sooner had he done so than he heard another voice out on the water. Another drowning person!

Once again he swam out and pulled the person to shore, a little more slowly this time. As the hiker-turned-lifeguard revived the second victim, he heard yet another cry for help.

All day long the hiker worked, rescuing one person after another as they came drifting down the river. There seemed to be no end of drowning victims, and the hiker didn't think he could keep it up.

Just when he was about to collapse from exhaustion, he spotted another man walking rapidly beside the river, headed upstream. "Hey mister!" he cried out. "Please help me! These poor people are drowning!"

Amazingly, the man kept walking upstream. The astonished hiker called out again. Without even acknowledging the cry, the man kept going. Indignant and angry, the hiker leapt to his feet, ran toward the uncompassionate man, stood directly in his path, and in a loud voice demanded, "Sir! How can you possibly walk past all these drowning people? Have you no conscience? Must I force you to help me save these people?"

The stranger stopped, looked at him for the first time and said with a calm, focused voice, "Sir, please get out of my way. I am headed upstream to stop the guy who is pushing all these people in."

Each of us has a role to play in rescuing those who are drowning in sin. Some of us pull people from the water and resuscitate them with counseling, food, shelter, a rehabilitation program, a support group or financial aid. These are relevant and important ministries.

Others of us find our place of ministry upstream, opposing the one pushing people into the river. We do this by challenging them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing that Christ sets a person free from sin and releases them from Satan's power.

By itself, pulling people from the water isn't enough. We need to deal with the sin at the source.

Prayer: Father thank you for the victory over sin brought about through the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Comments on this?
(To ensure that we get your comments, please use that address and do not simply hit "reply" on your email program.)
A printable version of the "Shelia Shares" above is linked from our newsletter archive page.
Note: That same page includes a link to the audio version of this "Shelia Shares" and a "Share" button for sharing this column on Facebook.

On the Lighter Side

Good Question

A lady was looking for a turkey for her Thanksgiving dinner but couldn't find one big enough. She asked the store's stock boy, 'Do these turkeys get any bigger?" "No, ma'am," he responded. "They're dead."

Being Thankful

The checkout clerk at the supermarket was unusually cheerful even though it was near closing time. "You must have picked up a ton of groceries today," a customer said to the checker. "How can you stay so pleasant?" "We can all count our blessings," the clerk replied. "The hardest part of this job is the turkeys and the watermelons. I just thank God that Thanksgiving doesn't come in July."

Actual Interactions from the Butterball Help Line

Recommendation for Thanksgiving Leftovers

"Wrap turkey leftovers in aluminum foil and throw them out."
(This recommendation is not endorsed by Shelia.)

Who Am I?

A big-time celebrity was doing a benefit at a senior citizens' home. He asked one of them, "Do you know who I am?" "No," she replied, "but you can do what we do — ask at the front desk and they can tell you."

Are You Ready?
1 Thess. 5:2-10; Matt. 24:44; Luke 21:34,36
Free Gift
Pray for the President!
Until next Week...Keep Looking Up!