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 May 5, 2015
 

In This Edition...


Paul's Epistle...
"Pray Without Ceasing"

When my brother and I were just kids running around the parsonage, I remember we would occasionally jokingly cite the Biblical admonition to "pray without sneezing."

Well, that's not exactly what 1st Thess. 5:17 says. The Apostle Paul's actual wording in the KJV is "pray without ceasing."

Wait a minute... Pray without ceasing?  Really?  Nonstop?  How is that even possible?  Taken at face value, that's a very challenging command, to say the least. Are we to be on our knees in prayer every waking hour? Is everything we do to be done with a solemn prayer-like demeanor?

Consider... What is prayer, anyway? It is communication with God. What a privilege we have been granted! The Creator of the universe wants to hear from us. And, of course, we want to hear from Him. And that's critical to remember – prayer is a two-way communication. Although God already knows what we want and need, He wants to hear us come to Him with our petitions. This is worshipful recognition on our part that He's the One — the only One — who truly can provide for those needs. But we also need to be open to what He tells us as we pray. Often, while you pray, God will place thoughts in your mind that will answer some question you've just asked. He is amazing!

Is there any time of the day when we should not be aware of God's presence in our lives? If you say, "no," then you're close to understanding the "pray without ceasing" instruction. The original language for this passage actually carries the sense of praying without intermission. We should never "take a break" from it. As one commentator puts it, "Every waking moment is to be lived in an awareness that God is with us and that He is actively involved and engaged in our thoughts and actions."

Billy Graham once surprised an interviewer by saying that he does, in fact, pray without ceasing. "I find myself in prayer and fellowship with God, even while I am talking to other people or doing other things."* In other words, we are to live our lives in such a way that we have an awareness that God is always with us and we have an "open channel" of communication with Him that we can, and should, use.

You can breathe a prayer while you're doing the dishes. You can breathe a prayer while at work. You can breathe a prayer while doing your housework (or homework). You can breathe a prayer (with your eyes open) while driving. You can breathe a prayer when the phone or doorbell rings. You can breathe a prayer when someone – anyone – comes to mind. Sometimes you can pray and hardly realize you're doing it. You can breathe a prayer – anytime!

We can even do it without realizing we're praying. Any time we experience something and say, "Praise God!" – and mean it – it's a prayer. It is praising God. That would be pointless if it weren't directed to His attention. We are praising Him – to Him. And when we speak to Him, it's prayer.

This all makes perfect sense. After all, Acts 17:28 tells us that "in Him we live and move and have our being..." As Christians, we can live in constant contact with the Lord. Moment to moment, day in and day out, ceaselessly, we are continually reliant upon Him. In Him, we exist!

Now, if we can truly remember that – that we should live in an attitude of constant contact with the Lord – what would that mean for the way we live?

Always being aware, always being open to the Lord's guidance — that's praying without ceasing. Just imagine the Lord standing right there by your side throughout the day, every day, all day — whatever happens, good or bad. Can you think of a better way to live the Christian life than to be in an attitude of prayer — an awareness of God's presence — at all times? Can you think of a better holy restraint on our otherwise tainted attitudes and deeds?

No, none of this is easy.  It's a struggle.  There are so many distractions in our world.  But it's a goal we should consciously strive toward.

Here's a thought:  What were you doing the very moment you became a Christian? Think about it. ... You were praying!  You prayed to the Lord that He would forgive your sins. You told Him you accepted Him as Lord of your life! You thanked Him for the salvation He purchased for you with His blood. The very first thing you did as a Christian ... was pray!

Why stop? Let your life itself be a prayer. Live your life as if your prayer — your conscious awareness of God's presence in your life — never ends.

- Paul

PS:  It's interesting to note that our Lord's model prayer as recorded in Luke 11 includes no "amen" at the end of the prayer.  Nor do some of the earliest manuscripts of the Lord's prayer as recorded in Matthew 6.  Perhaps the prayer wasn't meant to end — it goes on...

* Billy Graham, "A Legacy of Faith," p. 121
___

Note:  This Thursday, May 7, 2015, is the 64th annual National Day of Prayer in the USA. The theme is "Lord, Hear Our Cry," emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to place their faith in the unfailing character of the Creator. I would encourage you to get involved in any local observance – or simply to pray for blessings on those you love and our country.

Comments on this? paul@thegospelgreats.com
(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 Epistle above can be found in our archives:
http://www.thegospelgreats.com/ggnlarchive/epistle20150505.htm

Attend the Memphis Quartet Show

Coming on the broadcast the weekend of May 9th & 10th, 2015:

Honoring Mothers:   Coming as this program does about the time of the Mother's Day observance in the States, Canada, New Zealand and elsewhere around the world, many of the songs and artist comments on this program will be about mothers and motherhood. Among artists sharing their thoughts will be Gary Casto (Tribute Quartet), Chris Allman (Greater Vision), Sharron Kay King, Sonya Browder (Browders), Karen Peck Gooch (Karen Peck & New River), Lisa Williamson (Williamsons) and Rod Treme (Paul's Journey).

Featured Artist:   Our Featured Artist of the week will be a young mother herself, Charlotte Ritchie. She'll tell you about her kids, of course. But she'll also have songs from her current CD entitled "A Beautiful Life." She'll talk about her soon-to-be-released radio single, "Building Bridges," along with several other songs on her CD. Charlotte, who once sang with the Nelons, is best known in recent years for her regular appearance on the Gaither concert tour.

Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?


From the broadcast the weekend of May 2nd & 3rd, 2015:

In preparation for the 64th annual National Day of Prayer (in the States) on May 7th, the overall theme of this program's music and artist comments was the importance of regular, sustained and fervent prayer. More info about the National Day of Prayer observance can be found at http://nationaldayofprayer.org.

Fitting right in with that overall "prayer" theme were our Featured Artists of the week, Karen Peck & New River, whose brand new CD is entitled "Pray Now." As we've seen so often recently with various groups, the songs they chose for their new CD have unexpectedly ministered to them. Karen's husband, Ricky Gooch, discovered cancer in his neck and recently underwent chemo and radiation treatment. Prayer has sustained him, Karen and the group through this ordeal. Some of the songs you heard on the program are songs of encouragement through difficult times — again, just what they needed to hear, even though they were recorded before these health issues were known. God's grace and His timing are always perfect, and this is just one more example of that.

The new CD featured on this program by Karen Peck & New River, "Pray Now," is available from our mailorder service, Springside. Just call 1-800-38-MUSIC to order. Call by Friday, May 8, 2015, ask for the "Featured Artist Discount," and get 20 percent off this item. You can order easily from our webstore by using this link to go directly to this item. Note, too, that our "Featured Artist Discount" applies to any other currently in-stock recordings by this artist. While ordering online, when you get to the "Checkout" page, find the "Special Instructions" lines near the bottom, type in "Featured Artist Discount - 20 percent" to get the discount. Note that the discounted price will not be reflected online or in your first confirmation e-mail, but it will be applied here when the order is processed and before it is charged or shipped.

Our Artist Spotlight guests on this program, for the first time, were the Virginia-based Mark Dubbeld Family. This is an actual family, with Mark and Janene Dubbeld and four of their five children singing with them. I didn't mention it on the program but all of the songs from them that you heard on the air were written by Janene. In fact, she wrote all of the songs on their current "His Love, That's Why" CD. You can find more information about the Mark Dubbeld Family on their website, www.mjdubbeld.com.

On the Headline Update I mentioned the recent visit to Kenya, Africa, by Gerald Wolfe and Rodney Griffin of Greater Vision to witness the dedication of a new water treatment system for a remote village there. Although In Touch Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia, is a strategic partner, the ministry directly responsible for the program is called Water Missions. Their website is www.watermissions.org. They describe themselves there as a "Christian engineering ministry that transforms lives through sustainable safe water solutions."

For the song list from this broadcast, click on the link below.
http://www.thegospelgreats.com/cue20150502.pdf   (PDF viewer required.)

Hear last weekend's Headline Update report about your favorite artists by clicking on this link: http://www.thegospelgreats.com/update.mp3

New items available this week from Springside.com:
  • Ernie Haase & Signature Sound - Happy People (CD or DVD)

  • David Phelps - Ultimate Collection (CD)

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

Shelia Shares....
"Little Is Much"

If you are a regular reader of this newsletter, you know that Paul and I take walks several times a week for exercise. This year during the snowy, icy and bitterly cold winter, we walked at Park City, a large shopping mall. Three times around the inside of the mall is a total of 3.9 miles. Now that the weather has warmed up, we plan to do our four-mile walk through downtown Lancaster again, whenever we can.

When I had my eye surgery almost three years ago, I needed to look down or straight ahead for a number of weeks. During that time, I discovered a lot of dropped coins on the sidewalks. Generally, I find pennies. People just don't bother to pick them up. But, I have found nickels, dimes and even quarters. In 2014, my grand total was $15.72. Now, a penny doesn't sound like much money, but enough pennies make a nice total.

Recently Park City Diner (Park Plaza in Lancaster) and Knight & Day Diner (across from Brethren Village in Lititz) offered to help The Gospel Greats program financially through an "affinity" program. They gave us plastic "swipe cards" to distribute. When you eat at either diner, as you pay your tab, simply have them "swipe" the card through their card reader. A donation will be made to The Gospel Greats program to help us to carry on our ministry.

You might be thinking that your $10 meal and drink once a year wouldn't make a difference. But, 100 people making that $10 purchase is a $100 donation. Joining with others, local people, one at a time, can make a difference to The Gospel Greats program in this way.

But here's my point. I don't know how many people you meet each day or week or year. If the number is relatively small, you might think, "Can I really impact lives for Christ?"

Maybe you aren't a Billy Graham talking to thousands of people at a time. But, can you share your joy and the reason for it with one person this week? Can you tell one person what you read in the Bible this week and how it motivated or changed you? Can you tell one person that Jesus is Lord? Can you show a consistent life and back it up with just a sentence that points to Christ?

When you tell one person, you make a difference in that person. You plant a seed or you water an already-planted seed in that person's life.

You might feel like you are just picking up pennies. Individually, they don't amount to much. You might think your purchase of a cup of coffee and using the swipe card isn't worth the bother. You might feel that speaking a word for Jesus isn't going to change a life — and it could be embarrassing if they don't respond properly.

But, you can make a difference.

The important thing in all this is not the coins or the donation. They're only illustrations. The important fact is that you can impact a life or lives for eternity. It happens one action or one word at a time. As the old song says, "Little is much when God is in it."

Share Jesus at every opportunity you can and to every person you can and at every place you can. Just share Jesus.

Shelia

Note:  If you live near Lancaster or visit this area, I'd be happy to get you a "swipe card" for the Park City and Knight & Day Diners. Just contact me and we'll work out the details.

Comments on this? shelia@thegospelgreats.com.
(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:
http://www.thegospelgreats.com/ggnlarchive/shelia20150505.htm


On the Lighter Side...

Mother's Day Surprise

Two children ordered their mother to stay in bed one Mother's Day morning. As she lay there looking forward to breakfast in bed, the smell of bacon floated up from the kitchen. But after a good long wait she finally went downstairs to investigate. She found them both sitting at the table eating bacon and eggs. "It's a surprise for Mother's Day," one explained, "we decided to cook our own breakfast."

Things a Mom Doesn't Want to Hear

  1. I swallowed a goldfish.
  2. Your lipstick works better than crayons.
  3. Does grape juice leave a stain?
  4. Look, I painted the front door!
  5. The principal called...
  6. What's it cost to fix a window?
  7. The dog doesn't like dressing up in your clothes.
  8. Has anyone seen my earthworms?
  9. I'm going to run away! (Well, maybe SOME days...)

Observing Mom

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother has several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?" Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white." The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, "Momma, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?"

How to Bake a Cake (A Mom's Experience)

  1. Preheat oven, get out utensils and ingredients.
  2. Remove blocks and toy cars from table.
  3. Grease pan, crack nuts.
  4. Measure two cups flour.
  5. Remove baby's hands from flour, wash flour off baby.
  6. Re-measure flour.
  7. Put flour, baking powder, salt in sifter.
  8. Get dustpan and brush up pieces of bowl baby knocked on floor.
  9. Get another bowl.
  10. Answer doorbell.
  11. Return to kitchen.
  12. Remove baby's hands from bowl.
  13. Wash baby.
  14. Answer phone.
  15. Return.
  16. Remove 1/4 inches of salt from greased pan.
  17. Look for baby.
  18. Grease another pan.
  19. Answer telephone.
  20. Return to kitchen and find baby.
  21. Remove baby's hands from bowl.
  22. Take up greased pan, find layer of nutshells in it.
  23. Head for baby, who flees, knocking bowl off table.
  24. Wash kitchen floor, table, wall, dishes.
  25. Call baker.
  26. Lie down.


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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