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Monday, March 19, 2018

Love is Kind


There is a man who is a regular customer at the Waffle House in La Marque, Texas. This same man recently underwent surgery and has to use a portable oxygen tank. When he went to the restaurant to eat on March 3, he told the waitress, Evoni Williams, age 18, that his hands “don’t work too good.” So Williams stood on the other side of the counter, took a fork and a knife, and cut the ham on his plate for him.


This simple act of kindness was photographed by Laura Wolf who was also eating breakfast at the Waffle House. She posted the photo on Facebook with this caption:


“I don't know her name but I heard this elderly man tell her his hands don't work too good. He was also on oxygen and struggling to breathe. Without hesitation, she took his plate and began cutting up his ham. This may seem small but to him, I'm sure it was huge. I'm thankful to have seen this act of kindness and caring at the start of my day while everything in this world seems so negative. If we could all be like this waitress & take time to offer a helping hand...”


Currently, this post has been shared on Facebook over 73,000 times and “liked” or “loved” over 145,000 times. Because of this post, several have sought to honor Williams for her kindness. La Marque Mayor Bobby Hocking recently declared one day, “Evoni Williams Day.” As a thank-you gesture in recognition of her kindness, Texas Southern University presented her with a $16,000 scholarship.


The young employee told ABC 13 she didn’t expect any of the recognition she’s received. She saw a man who could use some assistance, and she helped him. "It just came from the heart," she said.*


What a simple but wonderful act of kindness! This writer is also thankful for the favorable attention that this kind act has received. It is quite refreshing when, as Laura stated, “everything in this world seems so negative.”


May this act point to the greatest act of kindness this dark world has ever experienced:


“3For we ourselves [that includes you and me] were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:3-5).


When we were lost in sin and couldn’t help ourselves, “the kindness and the love of God our Savior” appeared in the person of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and to give us eternal life. He did this, not because of our “works of righteousness,” but because of His love, His mercy, and His kindness toward us. He saves us through “the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” This washing and renewing refers to what happens when a person places His faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turns from his sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confesses Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and is baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Then, as one continues to walk in the light of His Word, the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse him from sin (1 John 1:7).


Because YOU and I were lost in sin and destined for destruction, the kindness of God sent Jesus to save us. Won’t YOU receive the gift of His kindness through your trusting obedience?


-- David A. Sargent


* Information gleaned from “Waffle House employee's act of kindness toward elderly customer lands her $16G scholarship” by Michelle Gant of Fox News.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

A Cross-Shaped Marriage

A Cross-Shaped Marriage

Tomorrow, my wife and I will give our second daughter away in marriage to a great Christian young
man. Yes, our hearts are full with a myriad of thoughts and emotions, but we are very happy for
them. My prayer for Lacey and Will - and for all marriages - is that they will have a
"Cross-Shaped" Marriage.

There were three nails that held Jesus' body to the cross for our salvation. Actually it was His
love that held him there. By dying on the cross for our sins, Jesus demonstrated the greatest love
for you and for me. "This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the
world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and
sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:9-10 NIV).

The three nails of Jesus' cross can stand for three principles that are included in a "Cross-Shaped"

The first nail stands for "Selflessness." Jesus' death on the cross was done out of complete
selflessness. He willingly gave His life for us (John 10:17-18). Selfishness is the greatest enemy
of a happy marriage. Jesus' death on the cross demonstrates complete selflessness, which is crucial
to a strong, happy marriage. Read Philippians 2:3-4.

The second nail stands for "Sacrifice." Jesus gave His life for us on the cross. The Apostle Paul
said, "[Jesus] loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice
that atoned for our sins. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, wrote: "Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (5:25). This nail in Jesus' cross
should remind us of the sacrificial love that we are to have for one another.

The third nail stands for "Surrender." Jesus surrendered His will to that of His heavenly Father.
He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;
nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:39). It was the Father's will that Jesus
die on the cross for the sins of the world; there was no other way to save mankind. May this nail
in Jesus' cross always remind us that the greatest thing that a husband and wife can do for their
marriage is for each of them to surrender his/her life to Christ. Then, as each one draws closer to
Christ, the two will draw closer to one another.

When these principles that are reflected in the nails of Jesus' cross are applied to a marriage,
that marriage will be strong - exactly what God has intended for marriage.

Yet, these same principles are applicable to each one of us - whether we are married or not. The
greatest life we can live - the abundant, God-blessed life - is a Cross-Shaped life filled with
selflessness, sacrificial love, and surrender to the will of God.

God will save and give eternal life to those who surrender to His will: place your faith and trust
in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men
(Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
Then, continue to live surrendered lives, daily submitting to the will of God as revealed in His
Word. As we walk in the light of His Word, the blood that Jesus shed on the cross will continue to
cleanse your soul (1 John 1:7).

If you get married, may it be a Cross-Shaped Marriage. Whether you are married or not, may you live
a Cross-Shaped Life. It will make an eternal difference.

-- David A. Sargent

Monday, March 5, 2018

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things

How Beautiful Are His Feet

He had beautiful feet.

I don't ever remember seeing his bare feet. He probably had larger feet than most. He had to. He
stood tall at about 6 foot 5 inches. He stood tall in many ways.

And he had beautiful feet. How do I know? Because of this Scripture:

"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good
things!" (Romans 10:15).

He had beautiful feet because he brought good news to all that he met. He brought the Good News,
the Gospel - the greatest news of all: that "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1
Corinthians 15:3-4). That Good News, when it is received in good and honest hearts and placed as
the foundation of our lives, will save our souls (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). Many souls have been and
are saved because this preacher brought the Good News to them, and they believed it and obeyed it.

His name was W.T. Allison and he was a great Gospel preacher. That's why he had beautiful feet.

And he backed his message with his life. In the words of his daughter, Pam, "this sweet man of God
truly talked the talk and walked the walk." Marla Moorer Eddins summarized well the sentiments of
many when she wrote of him: "What a constant blessing he was to the entire Moorer family. We've
loved and adored this Christian man his whole life. He loved greatly, preached earnestly, and
laughed heartily. He was the real deal when it comes to faithful follower of God. He just loved
God! Thank you, Mr. Allison, for blessing every single person who knew you, all the couples you
married, all the funerals you performed, all the many Gospel sermons you preached, all the children
and babies you held, all the laughs and good jokes you shared. You will always always be in our

Now, don't you think his feet were beautiful, too?

And even though he passed from this life earlier this week, W.T. is still preaching. His life is
still pointing us to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins. Many of us can
still hear his booming voice as he proclaimed throughout his life and even in his death:

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:31).
"Now [God] commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will
judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to
all by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31). "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus
and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
"And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name
of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). "Be faithful until death, and [Christ] will give you the crown of life"
(Revelation 2:10).

I think W.T. would also say, "Love one another; as [Christ has] loved you" (John 13:34). That's how
W.T. loved people. He loved people so much that he would open up his heart and his life to them,
and he would always make sure they would have an opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus.

My, how his feet were beautiful.

Won't YOU listen to W.T. as he continues to proclaim the Good News? Nothing would make him happier
than for you to believe and obey the Gospel and see him in heaven one day.

You will be one among many that will be in heaven because of the preaching and influence of this
great man of God who gave all the glory to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ.

-- David A. Sargent

* In loving memory of and extreme gratitude for the life of W.T. Allison, a great Gospel preacher
and dear friend. Until we meet again.

Monday, February 26, 2018

A judgment to come



Thought for the Week


And the time of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: Because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead.--Acts 17:30-31


There is no truth more firmly established in God's word than that which tells us we are going to one day die. then face God in judgment to account for how we have lived in this life (Heb.9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10). We are frail human beings and must always be aware of how brief this earthly existence is. Regardless of what our life span is, it will be only a short time when we considers the eternity to which we are going.


The words of Amos, spoken to Israel long ago echo down the corridor of time and should be ringing in our ears: "PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD" (Amos 4:12). Because of the certainty and the nearness of death, that preparation should not postponed or delayed (2 Cor. 6:2).


We are prone to measure our lives in terms of years when in reality we should measure our lives in terms of one heartbeat at a time. We all walk a very fine line between living and dying (2 Sam. 20:3; Job 14:1-2). Realizing that our stay on this earth is brief and will quickly come to an end makes the words found in Psalms 39:4 encourage us to make the most of each moment: "Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am".


One day we will stand before the judgment bar of God to account to him for the things done in this body whether they be good or  bad (2 Cor. 5:10). We can live this life walking after the flesh or we can spend our life walking after the spirit in a manner that pleases God (Gal. 5:19-25). God leaves the decision as to which way we walk entirely up to us. That being true, if you were to stand in judgment this day, where would you spend eternity? Would happy your portion be or would it be a sad ending for you? What will it be, O what will it be?


Charles Hicks


In Ezekiel 37:22-24, God foretold He would make Israel “one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd.”  The next verse adds, “My servant David shall be their prince forever.” 

This is actually a beautiful prophecy of the church in the New Testament.

One church under one Christ

The church of Christ is the spiritual nation of Israel (Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 6:16; Heb. 12:22-23), God’s spiritual, “holy nation” (1 Pet. 2:5-9).  The Lord’s church is indeed but “one nation.”  There is only one church (John 10:16; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22-23 + Eph. 4:4; Eph. 5:23; Col. 3:15), and all are one in Christ in that church (John 17:11-26; Acts 4:32; Rom. 12:4-5; Rom. 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; 2 Cor. 13:11; Gal. 3:27-29; Eph. 1:10; Eph. 2:12-22; Eph. 4:2-3, 11-13; Php. 1:27; 2:1-2; 1 Pet. 3:8). 

This “one nation” has “one king,” and that is Jesus Christ (Matt. 2:2; Matt. 5:35; Matt. 21:5; Matt. 25:34, 40; Matt. 27:11, 29, 37, 42; Mark 15:2, 9, 12, 18, 26, 32; Luke 1:32-33; Luke 19:14-15, 27, 38; Luke 23:2-3, 37-38; John 1:49; John 12:12-15; John 18:33-37, 39; John 19:3, 12, 14-15, 19-22; Acts 4:27; 17:7; Rom. 15:12; 1 Cor. 15:24-25; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 11:15; 17:14; 19:16; 20:4-6). 

According to the prophecy in Ezekiel 37:24, God’s “servant David” (see also Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23-24) would be the one king and one shepherd over Israel.  This is clearly speaking of Jesus Christ.  First, Jesus Christ is “David” the king (or prince) of Israel in that he descended from David physically (Matt. 1:1; Matt. 9:27; Matt. 12:23; Matt. 15:22; Matt. 20:30-31; Matt. 21:9, 15; Matt. 22:45-46; Mark 10:47-48; Luke 18:38-39; Rom. 1:3), and is sitting on his spiritual throne in heaven as the king of his spiritual kingdom, the church (Luke 1:31-33; Matt. 16:18-19; John 18:36-37; Acts 2:29-36; Col. 1:13; Eph. 1:22-23; Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18).

Cleansed and undefiled

Faithful Christians have turned away from all forms of idolatry (Acts 15:20, 29; Acts 21:25; 1 Cor. 10:14; 1 Cor. 12:2; 2 Cor. 6:16-18; 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 1 John 5:21), including covetousness (Col. 3:5).  Not only that, but faithful Christians will turn away from all their transgressions. 

God “cleanses” His people from their sins (see also Psalm 103:3; 1 John 1:9).  “Cleansing” goes beyond mere forgiveness.  Forgiveness removes the sin from our record, which is necessary for our salvation.  Cleansing the person actually removes what caused him to sin in the first place.  Sin comes from the heart (Matt 15:18-20; 12:34-35).  God says He will purify (the same Greek word as “cleanse” in 1 John 1:9) our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9).  That faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17). 

When the evil is purged out of our hearts, what originally caused us to sin is gone.  Now we are better prepared to resist the temptation the next time it comes.  God not only wants us to have a clean record, but He also wants us not to repeat the same sins (1 John 2:1; Eph. 6:16; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Our heart needs to change in order to accomplish God’s will.  Thus, if we confess and repent of our sins, God will not only forgive us, but He will cleanse our hearts from all unrighteousness.  This is only fulfilled in the New Testament by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Forgiveness of sins did not come through the blood of bulls and goats (Heb. 10:1-4).  Sins can only be cleansed and forgiven by the blood of Christ (Matt. 26:28; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:25-26; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 13:38-39; Acts 26:15-18; Rom. 3:24-25; Rom. 11:26-27; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:13-14; Heb. 9:11-28; 10:11-18; 1 John 1:7, 9). 

Therefore, the prophecy of Ezekiel 37:23 only finds fulfillment under the New Covenant (Jer. 31:34; Heb. 8:12; 10:17).  Because of Christ and the cleansing of our sins (Ezek. 37:22-23), the Father is now our God and we are His people (Jer. 30:21-22; 31:33; 32:37-40; Ezek. 11:19-20; 37:22-27; Zech. 8:8; 13:9; Rom. 9:24-26; 2 Cor. 6:16-18; Heb. 8:10; 1 Pet. 2:9-10; Rev. 5:9; 21:3).


Jon Macon



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Valentine's Day massac

Running Toward Danger


He was one of the 17 people who were killed by a gunman in the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.  His name was Aaron Feis, a 37-year-old a father and husband, who served as an assistant football coach and a mentor to many students.


Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel spoke at Feis’ funeral on February 22nd.  He said of Feis, “Before you even heard how he died, you knew he died putting himself in harm's way to save others.  That's who he was.”  The sheriff said that while others were “correctly running away from danger,” Feis was “running toward danger” to help students.


The sheriff knew Feis personally.  “I coached with him. My two boys played for him,” Israel said. “The kids in this community loved him, adored him.”


Family friend Brandon Corona described him as loving, strong, kind, and patient.  Feis gave rides home to students who needed it and “he was a counselor to those who had no father figure,” Corona said.


The school's football team wrote on Twitter, “He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.” *


Michael Strahan of ABC’s Good Morning America described Feis’ actions: “[It was] an incredible act of heroism during that deadly school rampage.  Assistant coach Aaron Feis acted as a human shield coming between the students and the bullets, sacrificing his own life to save others.”


When you and I were in the fatal clutches of sin (Romans 6:23), Jesus came to us to save us.  Only He could do so, for He was and is the sinless Son of God.  The Apostle Peter explains Christ’s atoning death: “He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed…  Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18 NIV).  Jesus took the punishment for our sins on the cross, “shielding us” from the wrath of a holy God upon sin.


“6For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:6-10).


God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  The blood that Jesus shed for us will continue to cleanse us as we continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7-9).


Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends” (John 15:13).


Won’t YOU accept the offer of salvation and eternal life that came at such a great cost?


- David A. Sargent


*Information gleaned from “Slain football coach ran 'toward danger' to save students in school shooting, sheriff says at funeral” by Emily Shapiro of


David A. Sargent, Minister


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Death of Evangelist Billy Graham

Truth Is Truth, No Matter Who Disagrees With It

Neal Pollard



Today, one of the most famous preachers of modern times died just short of his 100th birthday. Not only did he achieve longevity, his name was almost synonymous with American religion in the 20th Century. He reached hundreds of millions of people through live crusades, radio, and television. He was regularly listed as one of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World." His website claimed that he preached to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history (info via  His influence on society is unmistakeable.


However, this much loved and now much lamented man used the weight of his name and influence to oppose something which Scripture seems very clearly to teach. In the answer section of his website, he addresses the question, "Is baptism necessary for salvation?" While answering that he believed it to be important and that he had done it himself, he also said, "If baptism were a requirement for salvation, we would certainly say that." His answer makes clear that one becomes a saved convert before baptism, the thief on the cross being used as proof of that claim. Many of those who left comments under his answer shows how deeply influential and popular his teaching on this was. 


I believe in the vitality of the saying, "It's never a matter of 'who's right,' but 'what's right.'" Something is never right because I say it, some other preacher, or even the most famous preacher of the 20th Century says it. Something is right because Jesus and His apostles and prophets said it. Here is what they said:

  • "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" (Jesus)
  • "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins" (Peter)
  • "Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name" (Ananias)
  • "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (Paul)
  • "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" (Paul)
  • " Corresponding to that (Noah and family brought safely through the water, 20, NP), baptism now saves you-not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (Peter)

I feel the loss of this renowned preacher is sad and tragic.  I appreciate his vast influence and the way he tried to use that for good in so many regards. Yet, if the Bereans found it necessary to compare the great apostle Paul's preaching and teaching with Scripture, any of us who preach and teach today should want people to do the same. That's the only way we will be able to determine what's right!



Monday, February 19, 2018

The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can tell


Thought for the Week


Behold , what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not--1 John 3:1


One of our grand old songs begins with the words, "The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can tell". No truer words can ever be spoken about God's love for us. In order for us to have the honor and privilege of being sons of God, God sent his only begotten son into this world to live among men and then through his death on the cross make it possible for us  to be redeemed. The son of God had to suffer ridicule and shame at the hands of those who crucified him. He had to walk that lonely road to Calvary and have nails driven into his hands and feet. The son of God had to give his life's blood so that it would be possible for us to be called sons of God (Hebrews 5:7-9; Col. 1:12-14)


As sons of God we are led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14). We do not walk in the ways of man that are contrary to the will of God. Our attitude in doctrinal matters is the same as that of Peter when in Acts 5:29. he states emphatically, "We ought to obey God rather than man". This leaves no room for our own personal philosophies or I believe ideas. God's will takes precedence over everything as we seek his approval.


As sons of God we submit our entire being to his control, yielding ourselves to him, devoting ourselves to his service without reservation (James 4:7-8; Romans 12:1-2).  We then walk on this side of eternity holding on to the unchanging hand of God knowing that whatever betides us on this journey we will be safe in the arms of Jesus.


As sons of God we are heirs, joint heirs with Christ our saviour (Romans 8:14-17). As an heir we share in his love, mercy, truth and goodness while on this side of eternity. One day, as an heir, the glory of eternal life in that land where joy will never end will be ours (2 Corinthians 5:1). O what joy should be echoing through our hearts today, just knowing that we are the sons of God.


Charles Hicks


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Igor Kozlovsky

Set Free


Since 2014, the Ukraine nation has been divided by war.  Pro-Russian separatists seized control of part of the Ukraine, including the homeland of Igor Kozlovsky.  On January 27, 2016, the separatists seized Kozlovsky, accusing him of espionage against what they call the Donetsk People’s Republic.


Erik Tryggestad reports that the separatists claim that the Russian Orthodox Church is the region’s only true church and see other Christian groups, especially those planted by foreign missionaries, as tools for Western propaganda, full of spies.  Kozlovsky, a 63-year-old author, theology professor and preacher for Churches of Christ, was therefore viewed as one of those spies and taken captive.


In an interview with The Christian Chronicle, Kozlovsky recounted that at one point, his captors placed a cloth bag over his head, locked him in handcuffs and forced him to hold a pair of grenades, which they claimed they had found behind a bookshelf in his apartment.  For hours, they beat him with “something that felt like sticks,” he said, but he continually denied their charges.  After the beating, his arms and legs were swollen to “twice their normal size,” he said.  He couldn’t walk for days, according to Tryggestad.


Many fellow Christians of the Cup of Life Church of Christ in Donetsk fled to the west when militants took control of the region, but Kozlovsky and his wife, Valentina, stayed in Donetsk to care for their 37-year-old son, Slava.  Slava has Down Syndrome and is confined to a wheelchair due to partial paralysis.  Kozlovsky believed that the move would have been too traumatic for their son.  Yet Slava was terribly traumatized when his father was taken captive and he sat helplessly as militants rummaged through their apartment.


Kozlovsky endured brutal treatment and inhumane conditions as a prisoner, but he states that it was the separation from his family that would be the hardest part of his captivity.


Thankfully, on December 27, 2017, exactly 23 months after he was taken from his family, he and 74 other captives were freed in a prisoner exchange.  Kozlovsky was reunited with his family and he says that “he once again felt reborn.”


What was the first time he felt reborn?  It was when he was baptized into Christ several years earlier.


He had previously been held captive in the bondage of sin, a condition we all experience as sinners, and sinners are we all.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Sin is a cruel master and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).


But Kozlovsky was set free from sin – and we can, too.  How?  Through Jesus Christ.  Christ came into the world to save sinners by dying on the cross for our sins.  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).


God will set free from sin and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  In baptism, we are reborn and set free from sin (see Romans 6).  Then, as we continue to walk in the light of His Word, the blood of Jesus continues to cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:7).


Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32) and “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).


Won’t YOU submit your life to the Savior so that YOU can be reborn and set free from sin?


-- David A. Sargent


* From “After two years in captivity, minister released” by Eric Tryggestad of The Christian Chronicle, Vol. 75, No. 2; February 2018 as viewed at


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Psalm 103:114

Thought for the Week


"For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust"--Psalms 103:114


"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it"--Eccl. 12:7


The fleshly body in which we now live will one day be no more. Our creator knows how feeble and frail we are in this earthly tabernacle. He knows that we are made of dust and one day this corruptible earthly body will be laid in a grave where it will become nothing more than a pile of dust. Thanks be to God, our spirit will live on as it returns to the one from whence it came (1 Cor. 15:50-57).


Each day we live on this earth we are made to realize that this physical body does not endure very well. Every passing day takes its toll and we simply grow weaker as age creeps up on us. Sickness and disease strike our earthly frame causing us to groan under the burden (2 Cor. 5:1-4). Isn't it comforting to know that as a faithful child of God, we have that building of God, not made with human hands, that awaits our coming?


Knowing that one day we are going to shed these earthly bonds and our spirit is going to return to God, we must strive for a faith that will give to us the strength and courage to overcome all the obstacles that we encounter on this pilgrimage of life.  We need a faith that will shine as a great beacon light leading men and women out of darkness into the marvelous light of Jesus (1 Pet. 2:9; Matt. 5:13-16). A faith in which we are a great example in word, life, love, spirit, faith and purity (1 Tim. 4:12).  Make no mistake, our faith will be proven to be true by what we say and do every day we live (James 2:18; Eph. 4:29-32)


If we live life's little while living for Jesus, doing to the best of our ability what he commands of us, then the day this fleshly body goes back to the ground from whence it came and our spirit returns to God will be the greatest day of our existence. To God be the glory!


Charles Hicks

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