The Power Of The Cross: 96th Edition, September 8, 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.


SCF Men’s Group

We are starting a Setting Captives Free men’s group on the app Marco Polo. The idea is we can message the group when in need of encouragement, when tempted, or when we want to encourage others, etc.

The only request for joining the group is that we help keep each other focused on the gospel; that is, the death and resurrection of Jesus, and how it applies in our lives as we desire to walk in freedom from habitual sin.

So if you would like to join, simply download the Marco Polo app on your phone ( then contact Mike Cleveland THROUGH THE APP to be added the group. Contact information is mike@... and phone 360-362-0268.

Please allow 24 hours to be added to the group.



How to Experience Rest and Freedom!

All people experience unrest. They have no internal rest, no peace and quiet, and so they look for it in external things: emptying one’s mind, meditation, breathing exercises, calming music, etc.

And all people experience slavery. They can't control certain behaviors, they find themselves driven to do certain things, as if they had a slave master requiring them to do these things. Whether it's drugs and alcohol, lust and sexual impurity, food and laziness, or binge watching TV. Slavery is the natural condition of all mankind by birth (Job 51:5, John 8:34).

In the book of Job, Job has experienced many hardships all at once: loss of family, destruction of homes, flocks and herds, and total decimation of his livelihood. This is Satan's activity in his life.

And he longs for rest and freedom, wishing he had never been born so that he might be free of his circumstances. But notice what Job says about how to be free, as he cries out to God:

Job 3:16-19 (NIV) Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day? 17 There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest. 18 Captives also enjoy their ease; they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout. 19 The small and the great are there, and the slaves are freed from their owners.

Did you notice that in death "the wicked cease from turmoil, the weary are at rest”, "captives no longer hear their slave driver's shout” and “slaves are freed from their owners”? 

Yes, death brings rest and freedom, the ceasing of turmoil and the silencing of the slave driver's shout. Through death, captives are set free! As Paul says in Romans 6:7, “...anyone who has died has been set free from sin."

Many people commit suicide because they long for rest and freedom. Oh, if only there was a way to experience these benefits of death while still living! Don't you find your heart crying out for rest and freedom? Job did! And so do we!

And here is where the good news of the gospel becomes great news for us today. The gospel tells us that not only did Jesus die for our sins, but we also died in Him. That not only was Jesus risen from the dead, but that we were risen in Him. And if we died, we are freed from sin, and if we have risen, we have a new life (Acts 5:20). 

Read these two passages slowly and see what they say to you about freedom:

Galatians 2:20 (NIV) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Romans 6:1-4 (NIV) What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Oh friend, rejoice today that when Jesus died, you died. The cross of Christ was your cross. His burial was your burial. His death your death. His resurrection your new life. Relish this truth that your old self that loved to sin, that obsessed over wrong things, that tried to make good things the ultimate thing, has died with Christ and was buried with Christ. And in death, captives are set free!

This means that right now, in your life as you live it today, you can experience rest and peace and freedom from slavery. After all, in death captives are set free. It is wonderfully good news to know that dead people cannot hear the slave driver's shout. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).

We are not to commit suicide to experience these marvelous results, we are to believe the good news that we have already died and have risen with Christ! This faith in, and personal experience of the crucifixion of Jesus and His resurrection makes Jesus precious to us who believe (1 Peter 2:7). Oh how freeing and peaceful it is. We are at rest in Him and we are free in Him (John 8:36). 

Truly, what Job said later applies to us, too: "The blessing of a perishing man came upon me” (Job 29:13). Thank you Jesus that in your perishing on the cross you blessed us with sweet rest, and real freedom! Thank you for letting us experience this freedom not through our hard work, but through Your finished work! 

As you think about your previous slavery to sin, hear the words of Jesus on the cross, “It is finished!” When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30). And so did you!



Ann writes, "Since taking the Setting Captives Free Purity Boot Camp course, I have realized in a fresh new way the extent of what Christ did for me on the cross. I have realized that Jesus has not only forgiven me but removed the stains of my past. From the Old Testament, all through to the New, the completeness of that forgiveness is seen and relevant for us today. "Whom the Son sets free is free indeed" has taken on a whole new meaning. 
This study is helping me look more closely at God's word and see how He has revealed from the beginning His wonderful plan of redemption and grace. Salvation happens the moment we trust Jesus to save us when we admit our sins and stop blaming anyone else. But how glorious is what He continues to do for us every day by His Spirit. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing and being in His Word; we learn more every day about how great that is and how awesome He is! There is none like Jesus!!!

I have recommended this course to almost everyone I talk to because this course isn't just for those enslaved to pornography. These truths apply to everyone who needs a Savior, every believer that struggles with their past failures and freedom from their own flesh patterns now. I am grateful that God showed me what I needed to learn about His Amazing Grace.”

Michael writes, "I found the principles taught in the Setting Captives Free Purity Boot Camp course to be very profitable. I now make time every day to spend time with God and His word. I know I am hopeless, but with Jesus, I find hope and a Way out of temptations.  

I have not viewed pornography or even wanted to since I started this course.  I find my former sin distasteful and disgusting. I see how in the dark I was and do not want to go there again. I have experienced a change like never before. I never thought that an online course could have such an impact on my life, but it has. I highly recommend this course.”


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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. Thank you in advance.


Mike Cleveland