The Power of the Cross: 104th Edition, November 3, 2019

Mike Cleveland
 

Greetings friends,

Welcome to the new subscribers just joining us. We publish once per week on Sunday. The newsletter shares short gospel teachings and testimonies from Setting Captives Free students. We hope you will find the newsletter helpful and encouraging.

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Announcement:

We are happy to announce that the Setting Captives Free: A United Front course is now available in print. You can find it on Amazon here, or on our website here.  

Judy writes, "The A United Front course taught me that the gospel message is a way of life not just the way to salvation.  I had never thought of it that way. I have also learned to think more of others and not myself, to let go of bad feelings towards others, and to forgive. I have learned how to stand with my husband and encourage him more.”

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Teaching:

Every week on Saturday, one of the board members of Setting Captives Free writes a “check-in” email for all the mentors that minister their time with us. I wanted to share last week's check-ins with you, as it ministered deeply to my heart and I hope it does to yours as well. Here it is:

Erick Hurt: Check-in 10-26-2019

Greetings brothers and sisters! 

It is my pleasure to bring you this weeks check-in. I wanted to share something that’s on my heart with you.

Before the cross our hearts were very hard and sick (Ezekiel 36:26; Jeremiah 17:9), but one day we were wounded, healed and transformed by hearing the message of the cross and the forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ death, and that He was raised to life on the third day. 

Think for a moment how we used to talk and write, “I accepted Christ and then I made sure that I got up early so I could spend time with the Lord so I could read my daily devotion.” You get the point. Rather than a crucified life, we talked about what we have done or what we do. But when we were crucified, buried, raised to life forgiven and freed, everything changed, including the way we speak and write.

Galatians 1:1 ESV Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead-

Paul had many “human achievements” he could have pointed to, but he was laser focused on Jesus’ death and resurrection and wanted his readers to know that “man” or “human achievements” had nothing to do with who he was; “not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ”.

Philippians 3:4-7 NIV though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.

We do not focus on a list of human achievements which is “confidence in the flesh,” but rather the work Christ has done in our hearts. And this is what we seek for our own lives as well as for the lives of our students. We want them to “see” Jesus lifted up. We want them to “see” the salvation of the Lord. We want them to “see” that ALL OF THEM has been crucified with Christ and “I” NO LONGER LIVE! And the only reason that “I” live—is that Christ lives in me! 

2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NCV You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ sent through us. This letter is not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. It is not written on stone tablets but on human hearts.

Our lives are no longer under the written code instituted by the finger of God and written on tablets of stone, but a New Covenant through “nail pierced hands” by the shed blood of the Son of God, “by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh” (Hebrews 10:20 ESV). “You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel” (Hebrew 12:24 NLT).

Dear friends, please take a moment and look to the cross and listen to the blood that speaks to you; I so love you! I have forgiven you! I was rejected so I could accept you! I was clothed in your sin so I could clothe you and wash you in My blood with white garments of My righteousness! I was stained with sin so your stains could be removed! I was filled with wounds so you could be spotless! Can you hear the nails being driven into your sin and being poured out of the Son and being put to death on the cross for you? 

Please share your heart and thoughts with us of the “blood that speaks forgiveness,” that we may all celebrate the feast of Jesus together—our Passover Lamb.

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Testimonies:

Erik writes, "Setting Captives Free has completely changed my life. I began the Purity Boot Camp course because my sexual impurity had become such a stronghold in my life that I lost who I was.

My entire life, I have been very involved in my church, but I have also always struggled with pornography and sexual impurity. Because of pride and selfishness, I decided to keep my sin struggles to myself, thinking I would try and defeat my flesh using my own power, but, of course, I just failed at this repeatedly. It got to the point where all of the sins I had hidden for so many years were exposed to everyone I love; the outcome was devastating.

I started this course in an effort to mend the relationship with my wife, family, and friends, and so that I can truly walk with Christ and have a passionate relationship with Him where I am not holding anything back. I longed for so long to give my entire life to Christ, but my lusting sin kept me from doing it.

This course has been the tool I've needed to change everything. Now, I daily wash at the cross, and I walk in the Spirit. My entire outlook on life and how I live has changed because God has given me a new heart. I have a very specific battle plan to war against the flesh because I never want to go back to where I was.

I have seen God move in my life so much over the past 30 days, and I am so excited to continue to apply these foundational truths to my life every day. The blinders were taken off of my eyes, and God clearly revealed to me that Jesus on the cross not only took away my sin, but He also took away the guilt and shame that sin held on me.

I am a new creation that looks forward to all the blessings God has for me, not looking back at how I've let the Devil manipulate my life. God is so good, and I can honestly say that I was a captive in bondage to pornography and sexual impurity, but He has set me free! His word and this course have been central in my walk with Him over the past 30 days, and I will be eternally grateful. To God, be the glory; He deserves all the praise!!

I highly recommend this course because it trains you to realize that on your own, you will never be able to overcome sin; but through the power of the cross, God has already seen the victory! This course continually studies Scripture, clearly laying out the plan God has for us and how we can be set free. If you want your life to be forever changed, then I would look nowhere else but Setting Captives Free.”

Editor’s note: Erick went on to the mentorship course, and is now actively mentoring with Setting Captives Free.

Lenora writes,I came to the A United Front course with a lot of burdens. Having been a Christian most of my life, the things that I learned here were all things that I had already known, but somehow along the way, I had allowed sinful thought patterns to cloud my view to a point where these truths were known, but not always deeply experienced, or lived out. I came to this course with a lot of bondage to thought strongholds and patterns of thinking, which were not glorifying God's truth. I had started looking too much at people (myself and others) and needed the clarity focusing on the Gospel brought me.

One of the most challenging things in my life was that I had fallen prey to the devil's lies to look inside myself for righteousness. When I saw my sin, I didn't know how to cope with it, and I believe I held on to it, not wanting God to have to bear the burden of all the sin that was piling up in me - His child - who 'should' be more righteous than that! This thinking magnified my sin and made me more sinful in the process! I needed to realize again that Jesus is the ONLY WAY to purity and righteousness, and that the only way He can offer me that is by taking my sin for me - ALL my sin. I needed to allow Him to take it away from me, to realize the costly, precious blood that had to flow to bring me life with Him. I had to look upon my Saviour, becoming the curse for me.

I have thought lately of the snake that was lifted for the Israelites in the wilderness; they had to look upon that which had struck them and was killing them, and that very look at the source of their death was what brought them life! I had to recognize Jesus becoming the curse for all sin, taking the ugliness of sin, even the ugliness of the sin that I see in my own heart, and accept a God who had to become dirty to make me righteous.

The Pharisees and the religious want to find a better, 'cleaner' way to righteousness, and they work so hard to attain it, but all their 'righteousness' is as filthy rags to a perfectly pure and truly righteous God. "God made Him sin who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Perfect Jesus' love-saturated gift is my only way! I need to accept God's way, and when I do, such gratitude flows from my heart! I need to see Him able to shake sin and gain victory over it by resurrecting from the death that sin brought Him. "Oh death, where is your sting?" Christ OVERCAME!

I experienced anew the grace that my Saviour has for me, both to accept me and call me to be His child, and then to continually offer me the daily washing I need. As I still stumble and fall sometimes, it reminds me of the uniqueness of God alone being perfectly sinless, and I am thankful that He is so pure and so great! I realize that my 'humanity' is no surprise to my Saviour, and take comfort that He died to redeem me from all sin, even the sins that may still overtake and surprise me. The thought that there is nothing good inside of ME, but that which He puts inside of me by His Spirit, gives me rest from myself by looking unto God, His Son, Jesus - my only Righteousness. Hebrews 7:23-28 and 10 have been precious to me because they show me the Son - holy, blameless, and pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. The Son - who can save completely those who come to God through Him. The Son - made perfect forever, and "He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy" - that's me, and everyone willing to come to Him, as He calls out with such love "Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give You rest" (Matthew 11:28) That was me. I needed to be reminded to find my all in Jesus, and in His Word, which reveals His heart. This course ALWAYS pointed me to that.

This course showed me how to look at my husband and to see God's greater plan for our marriage to be a model that reflects His love for His people. This course encouraged me that when I look to Jesus for everything, it will end up influencing my human relationships and interactions in a way that they end up becoming much more of a blessing and bring a deeper satisfaction too.

I highly recommend the A United Front course! In this course, you will learn to see beyond the circumstances that are hurting you and learn to identify with Christ. You will see that Jesus suffered for all your sins and realize that you are not alone in knowing the pain of rejection. You will see the attributes of Christ that keep Him faithfully loving His own, and have the opportunity to learn to follow His example, to draw strength from Him so that you can respond in a Christlike way to offer hope to your husband (and others), and not condemnation or separation, but restoration!

This course speaks life to a hurting heart, and teaches us to learn to speak life as well, all of which is possible through what was accomplished by Jesus on the cross! I really like that this course teaches facing one's deep problems, and overcoming them in Christ when so many would rather bury the hurt and the pain, but probably don't realize how much that holds back their spiritual life and progress. The end result is having faith in Christ to be bigger than the problem as you face it head-on, and He WILL prove Himself faithful!

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Friend if you find you are in agreement with the mission of Setting Captives Free, to see the gospel of Jesus Christ change hearts and lives, would you please consider helping us to continue reaching people with the gospel? Please pray for us, and also consider setting up a monthly tax-deductible donation of any amount. https://settingcaptivesfree.com/donate. Thank you in advance.


Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland

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