The Power of the Cross: 108th Edition, December 1, 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.



Setting Captives Free is happy to release our first devotional book “Looking to Jesus: A 30-Day Devotional for Transformation.” It is available in print and Ebook here:

This devotional is designed to show how the message of the cross helps us with every issue we encounter in this life. The book addresses discouragement, bitterness, rejection, anger, loneliness, emptiness, weariness, being overwhelmed, even facing death, all from the message of the cross/resurrection of Jesus. Each day has an introduction, an illustration, and an application. 

Our publisher worked with us to finish this book in time for the holidays, as you may want to consider reading it and giving it as a Christmas present to family or friends.


For this week, the teaching is from one of our mentors in Russia, and the testimony is from a dear brother in Germany - both translated below into English. Please take a moment and pray for the spread of the gospel far and wide, to every country and nation on earth, to reach the hearts of people in their native tongue. 

Below is Yuri’s teaching, which was posted on our leadership communication channel, Flock. I do want to point out that Yuri not only wrote the below, but also translated it himself. Yuri is active on our Setting Captives Free men’s Marco Polo group where he likewise writes out what he wants to say, translates it to English, then speaks it the best he can. His heart is so enlarged by the message of the cross, and he is continually ministering to us. 

Here is Yuri’s teaching:

Greetings, my dear and beloved brothers and sisters!

We know that there are those among the believers who cannot overcome sin in their lives, who feel that they are spiritually weakened. Words are addressed to all of us in support and teaching:

Jesus, the Example Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews12:1-3)

How to overthrow the encumbrance of sin and gain endurance through difficulties? How will not to grow weary and lose heart? In these verses the answer is given: “FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. FOR CONSIDER HIM who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself”.

“ FIXING OUR EYES ” – so, to look at the Crucified Christ, to look at His Cross, at His suffering, and “FOR CONSIDER” – it is to think of the Crucified Christ, to look at His Cross, at His sufferings.

We know that Christ's Sacrifice important to gain eternal life by faith through accepting salvation in Christ. But is the salvation completed in this? Did God give us eternal life and leave us to struggle, to achieve something, to somehow wallow in the raging sea of life's difficulties? Of course not!

The angel spoke to Joseph about the Birth of Jesus from Mary: “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS. ”(Matthew 1:21) WILL SAVE FROM SINS! We just have to surrender to God, and He will make your deliverance from sin! Not only will forgive former sins, but also will deliver from a sin!

Is it that simple? YES! You just have to look at the Cross, and you will not sin, you need thinking about the Sacrifice of Christ – and you will not lose patience, wear out and weaken.“ And "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1Peter 2:24). Our sins almost 2000 years ago were ascended the Cross, and we got rid of sins, can live righteously, were healed!

Is not enough sometimes to remember the death of Christ. We must constantly look at the Cross of Christ! Do it always, as often as possible, and thinking deeply about what it means to you, how it works NOW in your life, TODAY, and not just at the moment of the first repentance!
ALWAYS carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2Corinthians 4:10). The Apostle Paul wrote this about the believers of his time, but today we have the same faith! Carry the deadness of Jesus in you, and then the life of Jesus will be manifested in you!

The Gospel is intended primarily for believers, the Gospel is written about: “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but TO US WHO ARE BEING SAVED IT IS THE POWER OF GOD.” (1Corinthians 1:18) Here it constitute - the power of God where! In the Word of the Cross!

We partake of the sacrament, sharing bread and wine in remembrance of Christ's Sacrifice, His Body and Blood. When Jesus gave this Commandment to His Disciples, He uttered these words: “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many FOR FORGIVENESS OF SINS. ” (Matthew 26:28)

The Blood of Christ has sprinkled and fixed God's New Covenant with you! And not only for this it was shed but also for the liberation of sins! That is why it is so important to constantly look at the Cross, to think about the Crucified Christ! In this verse the word “forgiveness” in Antion Greek in the original “afesin” means in different situations “letting go, throwing, casting, release, taking out, collapsing, dropping, spilling, falling, shedding, leaving, dropdown, weakening, ceasing, sending away, rejecting, banishing, terminating, deportation, disbanding, demobilizing, releasing, justifying, forgiving, ignoring, neglecting, not using”. The Blood of Christ made it is all with our sins! Complete absolution, liberation, independence, freedom of sins!

Can't you see it yet? Go to Calvary, look at the Cross, look at Jesus Crucified, His Body, His wounds, His Blood, His pain, His groans, His suffering, His death! Is it all in vain? God does nothing in vain! This is real today and now works in millions of believers! Just start and don't stop looking at Christ's Sacrifice and thinking about it! In aid you the entire New Testament – read and witnessed, that “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for THEY SHALL BE SATISFIED.” (Matthew 5:6).



Jen writes, "The principles in the Setting Captives Free Weight Loss course describe entirely the way I want to live in all areas of my life not just in the way I want to eat! Spiritually I am a different person since I started this course several months ago. I can genuinely say I am closer to the Lord than I have ever been in my life.

I have been a Christian for many years, but I don't think I ever truly comprehended all Christ did for me on the cross and, more importantly, how His finished work on the cross should affect my DAILY life, not just secure my eternal life.

Physically I am different too. I feel like the hold that food had on me has finally been broken. I don't desire to eat the way I used to. It has finally become merely a way to fuel my body or a brief enjoyment but not the reason for my existence any longer! Jesus has replaced that in my life, and I pray I will continue to live like this for the rest of my life!

I recommend this course- this course is life-changing. You may think it's all about losing weight, but it is SO MUCH more about gaining Christ!

Sherry writes, "The principles of the Weight Loss course at Setting Captives Free have helped me so much in the past several months.
Most importantly, I now connect with God more and go to the Cross more than I did before. The whole point of it all was Christ and what He did for me, for us all.  Because of this, I have lost more weight physically, so my clothes fit better, and I'm thinking more before I choose to eat something,

I'm not perfect, but there's been a lot of progress. I think I also lost weight spiritually, too, because there's less baggage that I've held on to with my emotions and life.

I recommend this weight loss course! Every day is a new day. If you're not perfect, don't give up or doubt the power of the Cross. Each time you fail and get back up that is growth until one day you realize you're doing it! It's a marathon, not a sprint. Also, having an accountability partner really helps because you're not alone, and having someone fighting the same battle with you helps you not to give up."

Ortwin writes: "The gospel-centered principles in the Purity Boot Camp course make it clear where the battle line is - the heart. My freedom is not in setting up filters or blocking programs but in a change of my heart.

During the course, I learned more and more to look to Jesus, to give up my guilt under the cross of Jesus and then to walk in the Spirit. I learned to remind myself of His work and to be changed by studying the Bible, communion with other Christians and prayer.

I found that filters and accountability programs, like Covenant Eyes, are helpful, but only the changed heart really changes my behavior.
I wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone who has a problem with impurity, pornography, and self-gratification. 

This course tackles the problem at the root -in the heart and mind."  (Translated from German to English.)


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Mike Cleveland