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 February 21, 2017

In This Edition

Paul's Epistle

Shelia and I spent the past week enjoying the 2017 Singing At Sea Cruise. Great music, fellowship, destinations, food and insightful Bible studies. And together we had a chance to present two sessions of a "name-that-tune" type program for fellow cruisers. Great fun!  But that's my way of saying I didn't have time to prepare an Epistle this week. I did, though, come across an article from one of my favorite radio preachers, Dr. David Jeremiah. (Maybe his early-years background working in radio has something to do with it.) In any case, I yield this space to him this week for some enlightening teaching about marriage, courtesy of Baptist Press.

- Paul

Keep the Music Going
by David Jeremiah

For most of us, the radio was part of our dating experience. That's why when we hear a certain tune, we smile and say, "Honey, they're playing our song."

So-called experts are always putting together "Top 100" lists, so I wondered what songs would be listed as the Top 100 love songs of all time. According to one study I saw, the top pick was George Harrison's "Something," sung by the Beatles in 1969. Number 2 was Elton John's "Your Song." Also high on the list were Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" and Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are."

No one ever interviews me for these lists, but I might have suggested a few other songs, like "The Way You Look Tonight," "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" and Sinatra's whimsical, "Love and Marriage."

There's nothing more pleasant than a dinner alongside your beloved with music in the background reprising love songs. Every generation has its own batch. I'm glad for songs that speak of the permanence of marriage and the enduring nature of love. We mustn't let that music fade. Certain notes should always be playing in our hearts, and the passing of years should only refine the tune.

Marriage is like a song. That familiar chorus represents the heart of the relationship, and different verses embody the different moods and seasons of marriage. Sometimes the music is upbeat and exciting; sometimes it's mellow and tender. But the important thing is to keep the music fresh so we don't just play the "same old song."

The elements we need for a dynamic relationship with God are the same we need to keep our marriages in tune and our lives harmonious. Let me suggest four elements for a melodious marriage, using the letters SONG.

Sensitivity.  Just as good musicians are sensitive to the strings and keys of their instruments, a good husband and wife learn to be sensitive to the other's needs. Marriage counselor William F. Harley Jr., suggests this key question: What could you and your spouse do for each other that would make you both the happiest?

Openness.   That leads to the "O" in SONG: openness. This has to do with the way we communicate. Several types of communication make up the fabric of our relationships.

The first is Small Talk. A communications expert once said, "For many of us, small talk is hard work...." But, "It builds rapport and often leads to bigger things."

One of those bigger things is Serious Talk. There are times when we must have heart-to-heart talks about things we're concerned about.

The third kind of talk is Self-Talk. That's when we open up and talk about our problems, our fears, our hopes, our ambitions, our inner feelings.

A fourth kind of necessary communication is Soul Talk, talking about matters of the soul, including the Lord Jesus.

The last kind of talk important for healthy marriages is Sweet Talk. This includes terms like: Honey, Sweetheart or Baby. Think of this as verbally snuggling. Few marriages fail when couples communicate openly on all five levels.

Nearness.  Couples need physical nearness, not only in the intimate act of marriage, but in time spent together. Despite our busy schedules, my wife Donna and I manage to sneak away sometimes from our normal demands. We have regular dates, just as we did when we first met. We slip into a corner booth of a restaurant and enjoy an unrushed meal with soft music in our ears and in our hearts.

Going to church.  The "G" stands for going to church. I don't care what the surveys say about the divorce rate among churchgoing people, I can tell you this: When a couple worships together each week, and when their worship experience overflows into their daily lives, they are blessed. The couple who builds their marriage in Christ is building on a solid foundation.

Therefore, don't get stuck on the same old song. Jazz things up. Keep the music going in your marriage. Keep a song in your heart.
Reprinted by permission from Baptist Press (, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Comments on this?
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A printable version of the Epistle above is linked from our newsletter archive page.

Coming on the broadcast the weekend of February 25th & 26th, 2017:

Great Annual Giveaway:   This program is Week #1 of our four-week 2017 Great Annual Giveaway. It's your opportunity to win a 2018 Singing At Sea cruise for two — or one of thousands of other gifts we have to give away. Listen for details of how to enter. You must listen for the "Key Phrase" mentioned on this program to validate your Week #1 entry. Full details will appear on this page on Friday, February 24th, including a link to an easy-to-use online entry form. (You can also enter by postal mail.) Please plan to enter each of the four weeks, because that increases your chances of winning the Grand Prize (that Cruise plus $1,000 cash). This is our opportunity to say "thanks" to you in a tangible way for listening to The Gospel Greats program each week.

Countdown!   This will be our monthly official Top 20 Countdown Edition, based this time on the chart of radio favorites appearing in Singing News magazine's March issue.

Guests:   Listen for comments from such artists as Phil Cross, Connie Hopper, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Randy Crawford, Mark Trammell, Ernie Haase, Mylon Hayes, Josh Singletary and Mike Bowling.

Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?
Click here to hear the audio announcement regarding this next program.
Click here to find a local station carrying The Gospel Greats program.

From the broadcast the weekend of February 18th & 19th, 2017:

The Isaacs have always have a readily identifiable sound, and their new CD, "Nature's Symphony In 432," takes that to a new level. As you heard them explain during their Featured Artist visits on this program, the "432" refers to the particular musical tuning used for this recording — slightly different from the 440 tuning most commonly used. Liner notes that come with the CD explain all this in detail, including more about the unusual reasons they chose to do this. Now, frankly, only someone with a lot of musical training and a highly-tuned ear would notice anything different. For the rest of us, it's good enough that it just sounds great. I found Sonya's and Lily's stories about doing this recording in keeping with the Jubilee year very interesting, including the sounding of the shofar on the recording. By the way, this CD by the Isaacs garnered a Grammy nomination this year.

The Isaacs' CD featured on this program, "Nature's Symphony In 432," is available from our mailorder service, Springside. Just call 1-800-38-MUSIC to order. Call by Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, 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.

This was one of our occasional All-Listener-Favorites editions with every song, other than Featured Artist selections, introduced by someone who called our special phone line when it was open a few weeks ago. Those whose song introductions were used each get a $10 gift certificate, except for the one $50 winner announced on the program. If you called but we didn't get to use your introduction, we will be using more of them from this Call-In over the next few months.

I mentioned on the program the little-known fact that Tennessee Ernie Ford, who enjoyed considerable success on recordings and with his own network TV show back in the 1950s and 1960s, was also the first president of the Gospel Music Association in 1964. He was honored posthumously by the GMA in 1994 when he was inducted into the GMA's Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

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 item available this week from
  • Lauren Talley "The Gospel" (CD)

Click here to view such 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
"Praying Wisely"

The story is told of a church group that held a garage sale. The sale was good and they had only a little left over. They decided to place the items in a box and mark it "Free Box."

After placing the box by the road, they joined in a circle and prayed asking God to have someone stop by and pick up the box.

They had just finished praying when a gentleman who was driving by stopped his truck. He looked at the box, glanced around, dumped the contents on the grass, threw the box in his truck and drove away.

The group looked at each other in amazement and then began to laugh. God had, indeed, answered their very specific prayer.

Maybe this story represents how we can pray for the wrong things, sometimes by accident and sometimes deliberately.

James 4:2b-3 reads, "You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures."

How can we pray amiss?

Suppose I have a problem with my eye. I pray that it will be healed. Am I praying correctly? What prayer does God wants to hear?

I could say, "Lord, You are a God of healing. Please heal my eye."

Another option is that I could say, "Lord, I would like nothing more than that You heal my eye. However, not my will but Yours."

The first option, basically tells God there is only one answer I want and only one answer I will accept to my eye problem. I have the best thing figured out and I am directing God to work that way.

The second option leaves the door open that God could decide not to heal my eye miraculously or immediately. It allows that He might have a purpose to my less-than-perfect vision. It leaves the door open to God teaching me something as I wait for His healing. It puts me in a position in which, when I have endured through the problem, I have more understanding of other people in similar circumstances. And, since God's thoughts are so much higher than mine, it allows that He could have a miracle for me that I have not even considered as a possibility.

I remember the story of a pastor who was in an area of the world where the church was severely persecuted. He was asked what his prayer is. His reply stunned me. He said he prays that God will show the church what they need to learn through this persecution.

Why wasn't he praying to have the persecution stop? Isn't that what he wanted? It probably was his desire, but he understood that the God who can do anything knows best what to do in his situation. Obviously, that pastor was in tune with God and seeking God's perfect will.

Lord, help us to pray wisely. Help us to be willing to accept Your will and Your way. Give us the faith and the trust in the midst of the storms.

- Shelia

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

How Respectful

Two men were playing a round of golf one day. Just as they were about to start one of the holes, a funeral procession went by on the road beside the course. One of the golfers, Clyde, takes off his cap and stands with his cap to his chest, and waits for the entire procession to go by. He then puts his cap back on and proceeds to tee off. "Gee Clyde, that was a very nice gesture on your part. It was very thoughtful and respectful of you to do that," his friend said. "Well," Clyde replied, "I was married to her for the last 30 years. It was the least that I could do."

What A Change

Mr. Peterson, a tourist from Toronto, arrived in Barbados. In an airport taxi cab, Peterson asked the driver, "Say, is this really a healthful place?" "It sure is," the cabby replied. "When I arrived here I couldn't say one word. I had hardly any hair on my head. I didn't have the strength to walk across a room, and I had to be lifted out of bed." "That's wonderful!" said the tourist, "How long have you been here?" "I was born here."


I just read that 4,153,237 people got married last year. Not to cause alarm or worry, but shouldn't that be an even number?

The Efficiency Expert

The efficiency expert concluded his lecture with a note of caution: "You do not want to try these techniques at home!" "Why not?" asked a man from the audience. "After years of not paying attention, I suddenly noticed my wife's routine at breakfast," the expert explained. "She made lots of trips to the refrigerator, stove, table and cabinets; often she carried just a single item at a time. So I asked her, 'Hon, why don't you try carrying several things at once? It'd be much more efficient.'" "Well, did your suggestions save much time?" the attendee asked. "Actually, yes," the efficiency expert responded. "It used to take her twenty minutes to get breakfast ready. Now I do it in seven."

Say What?

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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