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

Published November 25, 2014

In This Edition...

Paul's Epistle...
"Thanks A Lot"

Pumpkin pie!
Turkey with all the dressing!
Mashed potatoes and gravy!
Cranberry sauce!


So what does that make you think about? Celebrating Thanksgiving, of course.

But if that's what you think of first when you think of "Thanksgiving," you're missing the point. Thanksgiving is one holiday that says what it's all about, very clearly, right there in its name. It's a time for giving thanks.

But thanks to whom?

Thanks to the baker for the pumpkin pie?
Thanks to the turkey farmer for the turkey?
Thanks to grandma for the mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes?

Well, yes, they should be thanked. But the Thanksgiving holiday was founded as — and should still be seen as — fundamentally a time to give thanks to God for His many, many blessings in our lives. And if you're not feeling very blessed, you really haven't been paying attention.

I'm not a fan of the Simpsons, that long-running and often sacrilegious cartoon series on TV. I'm told, though, that on one episode, Bart Simpson sits down to a meal with his family. It's his turn to give thanks. But he says something like this: "Lord, my dad earned the money to pay for this food. My mom worked for hours to cook it. What did you do, God? Thanks a lot for nothing!"

Although one can have many serious issues with the Simpsons and their worldview, Bart this time captured the way all too many people really feel. Everything they have, they figure, is the result of hard work on their part. They slaved away at their jobs to earn the money to buy things. They earned it. It's theirs. No thanks to anybody else. You've undoubtedly encountered such people.

That reminds me of Jesus' parable of the rich man who had worked hard and accumulated many crops, which translated into great riches. He had so much that he said, "I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.'" But remember what God said to him? "You fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?" (Luke 12:18-20.)

This man, although rich by the world's standards, had forgotten the One who had given him the ability to accumulate such wealth. He figured did it all himself. God had nothing to do with it. "Thanks a lot for nothing!"

Such an attitude is a serious insult to God. After all, God is ultimately the source of everything we have. In the familiar words of the Doxology, "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!" James 1:17 reminds us that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights." That's why 1 Thess. 5:18 says, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

There you have it. It is God's will that we thank Him. And don't you want always to obey God's will for your life?

What's more, Paul, writing in 2 Timothy 3, lists a series of characteristics of end-time sinners. Among them is this one: "unthankful." That's right there in the list along with "blasphemers" and "despisers of those that are good." I surely don't want to be included on such a list.

Recently I came across an illustration that struck me because of its "radio connection." A little girl, whose father was a radio announcer, was invited to a friend's house for dinner. When they sat down to eat, the mother asked the little girl if she would honor them by saying the blessing. It delighted the little girl, and having seen her father at work many times, she knew exactly what to do. She cleared her throat, checked her wristwatch, and, loudly and clearly, said, "This food, friends, is coming to you through the courtesy of Almighty God."

She got it right! Everything we have does come to us through the courtesy of Almighty God. Why are we so quick to forget this?

Remember the man who brought his son to Christ, saying the boy was possessed of an unclean spirit? Christ said if the man believed, all things would be possible. The man said, "Lord, I believe: help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24.) Perhaps we should say something similar: "Lord, we are thankful. Help (and forgive) our unthankfulness."

In American English, the expression "thanks a lot" can be taken at least two very different ways. It can be taken in Bart Simpson's usage, meaning "thanks for nothing," which is the world's way of looking at God's provisions. Or it can be taken literally to mean, "thank you for a whole lot of things." Everything, in fact. And that's what we should be saying to our Heavenly Father this Thanksgiving — and every day, for that matter.

Remember daily Psalm 107:1: "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good."

- Paul

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A printable version of the Epistle above can be found in our archives:

Coming on the broadcast the weekend of November 29th & 30th, 2014:

Countdown!   This will be our official Singing News Top 20 countdown for the month, based this time on the chart of song favorites appearing in the magazine's December issue.

Featured Artist:   Our Featured Artist will be singer/songwriter/musician extraordinaire Gordon Mote, with songs from his current "All Things New" CD. Gordon will share tell about his current chart song, "Ain't It Just Like The Lord," as well as another song he co-wrote that's become very special to him — because it was inspired years ago by his then-little daughter. Gordon will also tell you about a recent overseas trip that he'll never forget. Please join us for this interesting visit with one of today's most gifted artists, Gordon Mote.

Other Guests:   You'll also hear from Jonathan Wilburn (Wilburn & Wilburn), Dell and Richard Hyssong (Hyssongs), Kelly Bowling (Bowling Family), Bryan Walker (recently with the Perrys), Susan Whisnant (Whisnants) and more.

Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?

From the broadcast the weekend of November 22nd & 23rd, 2014:

This was our annual "Thoughts of Thanks" edition, featuring expressions of thankfulness from many of today's top Southern Gospel artists, who also shared their songs of thankfulness. Of all people, Christians should be the most thankful. We have something to be thankful for — salvation through Christ. But He is faithful to shower us with many more blessings, too, if we just recognize them as such.

Our "Thoughts of Thanks" edition each year comes the weekend before Thanksgiving in the States. I know our Canadian friends celebrated their Thanksgiving several weeks ago, and such an observance is held at various times elsewhere. But, as I always note, giving thanks should never be limited to any one day. It should be something we do year-round. Nevertheless, the holiday is an excellent reminder to us of that truth.

"That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works." — Psalm 26:7
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name." — Psalm 100:4

For the song list from this broadcast, click here. (PDF viewer required.)

Hear last weekend's Headline Update report about your favorite artists by clicking here.

Thanksgiving Week Special from Springside!

This week you can buy all of your Southern Gospel music at a special generous holiday discount from Click here for details as seen in this week's Springside Music Update newsletter. Or call 800 38 MUSIC during weekday office hours to ask about this week's special deal or to order. Your purchases from Springside help support The Gospel Greats program.

Shelia Shares....

Danny Jones is editor of Singing News magazine. This week's "Shelia Shares" is an article he wrote last Thanksgiving, shared here by permission. It has a simple message well worth sharing, as well as a challenge. Are you ready?

"Thankful For Salvation"
by Danny Jones

"During recent weeks I've read literally thousands of posts on Facebook as people go through their ‘30 Days of Thanksgiving.' I've seen the commonplace — thanks for the Lord, family, friends, jobs, churches, cars, dogs, cats, and so forth — and the not so common (the most unusual was a pet rock named ‘Stoney' — you can't make this up — someone had been given as a child).

"But what I saw the most was ‘thankful for my salvation.' And I must agree with their sentiments. For all of my life, I've been hearing ‘we're living the last days.' I can remember my parents saying [it], my grandparents saying [it], hearing my grandparents say they heard their grandparents say it…you get the picture. You've heard it all of your life, too.

"While Scripture plainly states that no man knows the time of His return, Christians — as a group — seem to be coming into more agreement that the hour is drawing nigh. As such, the importance of the Great Commission grows as each day goes by.

‘This might be our last Thanksgiving, or, it might the first of 100 more. What truly matters, however, is that whenever the last Thanksgiving of our lives take place, we know that we are prepared to spend the next one in His presence.

"This week, when you're checking off the things you are thankful for, check to see if ‘Thankful for Salvation' is on your list. If it is not, take the time to learn why so many are thankful for their salvation and how it will be the most important decision you will ever make."

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 Shelia's column above can be found in our archives.

On the Lighter Side...

French Horn

When a music student brought his French horn to my shop for repair he complained that the instrument "felt stuffy" and he couldn't blow air through it. It's not unusual to find partial blockages in brass instruments if small items get lodged in the tubing, but when I tested the instrument, the horn was completely blocked. After much probing and prodding, a small tangerine dropped out of the bell. "Oh," said the musician when I handed him the fruit. Seeing the bewildered look on my face, he explained, "My mom used the horn for a cornucopia in a Thanksgiving centerpiece."

Thanksgiving Weather Summary

Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder. During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy. A weight watch and indigestion warning have been issued for the entire area, with increased stuffiness around the beltway. During the evening, the turkey will diminish and taper off to leftovers, dropping to a low of 34F in the refrigerator. Looking ahead to Friday and Saturday, high pressure to eat sandwiches will be established. Flurries of leftovers can be expected both days with a 50 percent chance of scattered soup late in the day. We expect a warming trend where soup develops. By early next week, eating pressure will be low as the only wish left will be the bone.

Turkey Legs

A turkey farmer was always experimenting with breeding to perfect a better turkey. His family was fond of the leg portion for dinner and there were never enough legs for everyone. After many frustrating attempts, the farmer was relating the results of his efforts to his friends at the general store get together. "Well I finally did it! I bred a turkey that has six legs!" They all asked the farmer how it tasted. "I don't know" said the farmer. "I never could catch the crazy thing!"

Reasons to be Thankful You Burnt the Bird

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!

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