Topics

The Power of the Cross:

Mike Cleveland
 

Greetings friends,

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

This week we have a powerful writing from Joce, one of our mentors here at Setting Captives Free, followed by a testimony from our weight loss course and another from our Purity Follow-Up course.

Here is the gospel writing from Joce:

…he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. Hosea 6:1b-3 (NIV)

Do you see the gospel in these beautiful verses? When we first believed we were lifted out of the pit of sin, our sins were put to death with Christ and forgiven! He raised us up on the third day and put new life in us when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead!

But why? So we may live in His presence. Other translations say: That we may live in His sight, that we may live before Him, that we may live before His face. What an amazing grace this is! Jesus has opened the way to the Father for us and His body is our eternal bridge to place and hold our hand forever in the hand of our Father. No longer hiding in the dark, no longer fearful of what He may think of us, or the consequences of our darkness of living a life apart from Him. He has lifted us up into the light so that the gospel may shine brightly into our lives.

When we place our hearts before our God every day, it is God Who shows us the state of our hearts as we look up in adoration at Jesus from the foot of the cross and we press on to know the Lord (Hosea 6:3). God and His Word through the breath of the Holy Spirit is ‘piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart’ (Hebrews 4:12).

The world and secular counselling offer many ways to assess our lives – a questionnaire, inventory, survey or an interview schedule to ask about our struggles, our behaviors, thoughts, emotions and our reactions to life events. We may find out that we have ‘many’ and 'frequent' aspects of one thing, a ‘high intensity’ of another, or even a ‘label’ pasted on top of it all. Our answers are given from our point of view, filled with human failings, to another person with their own human reasoning based on others' theoretical reasonings. Such secular counselors speak about a different ‘heart’ than the one that God talks about in the bible: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

These questionnaires do not have any questions about how God sees our struggles. There is not a category of naming ‘sin’ nor do they lead to a discussion of the characteristics of God: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). That this God sent His very own Son to become our sin and our substitute and to be whipped, beaten, nailed and speared till death on a cross so He could lovingly bandage our wounds (Hosea 6:1) and put the pieces of our lives back together again – perfectly. Our God wants to be known by us, to seek His face. And what will we find when we come to Him? Faithfulness and heart transforming rivers of life!

“he will come to us as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth” (Hosea 6:3)

By His love,

Joce

--------------------------

Here is the testimony from the weight loss course:

Wasseem writes, "The Setting Captives Free Weight Loss course was eye-opening from the very first lesson. The lessons were great reminders of why Jesus went to the Cross and how through Christ all things are possible.

The physical changes I have experienced were also incredible. I weighed myself once about a week ago, and I was down 25 pounds!

The main thing that has genuinely astounded me is that our bodies naturally know when to eat - those hunger pangs!

I have had weight issues my whole life. I worked out, watched what I ate, dieted, tried every fad diet known to man, losing weight only to gain it back, but savoring Christ and waiting for those natural pangs have been such a blessing. I can now know the difference between a craving and a hunger pang.

I still work out, but the excess weight is coming off with little effort. Every time I think of food, which doesn't happen as often as it did before, I rejoice in the small suffering I'm enduring for Jesus.

Praise the Lord for His grace and mercy."

-------------------------------------

And here is the testimony from the Purity Follow-Up Course:

Noah writes: "I grew up in a Christian home with strong and supportive parents, but that doesn't mean that I was free from the temptation of impurity. My struggle with sexual sin began in earnest when I went away to college. I became enslaved to the passions of my lust through porn and self-gratification.

As a Christian, I knew the way I was living was wrong, and I would often promise to stop. I worked hard at not giving in to my temptations, but all my effort was self-centered. I always believed that I was good enough to stop. As time went on, there would be periods of success always followed by failure. Eventually, I began to think that I would never be able to stop, that I was tied to my sin forever and would never be free.

But God stepped in to save me, and it was through several conversations with my pastor that I came to understand how terrible sexual sin is. How could a sinner like me ever be able to win the battle with sin? Once I saw how awful my sin was and how worthless my good works were, I understood the true meaning of the cross. By going through the Setting Captives Free Purity course lessons, I learned how to apply the gospel to my life.

I began this program four or five months ago, and if I had been told that I had been free to impurity for that long, I might not have believed it. But it is not anything that I have done; rather Christ has won the victory for me. He has washed me clean at the cross, crucified my sin with Him, and through Him, I am seen as righteous by God. This is something truly amazing to think about, all the sin I have committed is gone! I am seen as perfect now, not just good but perfect. So, "Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord! Let His people rejoice!"

If you are in a state of despair as I once was, come to the Father through Jesus. There is freedom, joy, and satisfaction in the life He gives. But the pleasures of the world only bring disappointment.

I am so thankful for what I have learned, and I pray that I never lose sight of the cross where Jesus paid the price for my sin.”

-------------------------------------------------

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
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free