The Power of the Cross: 110th Edition, December 15, 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.



Gospel Freedom From Slavery Is Easy

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Being enslaved to sin is extremely hard. Just like the Israelites who were enslaved to the Egyptians, when we are enslaved to sin we are ruled over harshly by the demands of our flesh, the dictates of Satan and the desires for what this world offers. Just like the Egyptians gave very little rest to the Israelite slaves, lest they become strong and leave, even so our spiritual slavery to sin leaves us with no rest day or night. When we have a thought to indulge our flesh we must act on it. When the idea pops in to our head to sin in a certain way we must obey it. This is destabilizing, debilitating, and demoralizing. “The way of the transgressor is hard” (Proverbs 13:15). 

By contrast, notice Jesus invitation in Matthew 11:28-30, which consists of three parts:

  1. Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” This is an invitation to those who are tired of carrying sin’s heavy burden and tired of trying to stop and failing. It is also an invitation to those who are tired of trying hard to “recover”, tired of working the program, tired of taking one more step only to lose ground because of their weak flesh. 
  2. Take my yoke upon you…my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light.” A yoke is a piece of wood that connected two animals together so they could both pull the load. When you get in Jesus’ yoke, you find a piece of wood connects you with Him. The cross He died on removed your sin burden, removed your guilt and removed your shame. Jesus has shouldered your load. But just as the animals that are yoked together are unable to go their own way individually, neither are we able to live life according to our terms. Being yoked with Jesus means keeping in step with the Spirit. If we want to rest, we must also surrender our own lives to Jesus and be yoked to the cross with Him.
  3. "Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart…” Part of being yoked with Jesus is to learn from Him, and where we learn the most is at the cross. There we see His humility, that He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made Himself nothing for us. There we see His grace, that He did not consider our sins reason to abandon us but rather He volunteered to be abandoned by God so that we could be accepted. There we see His love, that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son to suffer crucifixion and death to pay for our sin and remove our burdens. Learn from Jesus at the cross and you will find sweet rest for your souls.
May you come to Jesus, be yoked together with Him at the cross, lose all your burdens, find sweet peace and rest, and walk with Him and learn from Him.



Diana writes, "The changes that the Lord has made in my life through the Setting Captives Free Depression course have been life-altering.
My husband wanted me to take this course for some time, but I was putting it off, thinking I had everything under control. Of course, I was wrong as I had been so often about my depression.

I was skeptical at first, but as I started going through the lessons, I noticed my heart changing. I was shedding tears daily as I learned how the cross and the Saviour could bring me joy, relief, and freedom from all I had been experiencing over the past 20 years.

I have not looked at the cross the same since beginning to see what Jesus did for me there. Jesus came to rescue the brokenhearted, set prisoners free from darkness, comfort those who mourn and give a garment of praise instead of despair. Isaiah 61:1-3 has been my daily remembrance and comfort. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me despite all my issues and the times I have not been faithful, and thank you, Setting Captives Free, for providing this course; it has changed my life!

In a Bible study, I attend, I was able to share with other women who have also been suffering from depression how looking to the cross and getting a clearer understanding of what was done for me there freed me from depression and allowed me to be at peace with God and myself. I can't share it enough!"

Terry writes, "Absolutely, the principles in the Setting Captives Free Weight Loss course have been helpful to me! The most significant change is that I am more in love with Jesus; I feel I've learned to appreciate the cross at a deeper level. I've become increasingly amazed by His Word, especially the Old Testament and the foreshadowing of Christ that I've missed over the years.

Through the three principles of the course (Savoring Christ, Suffering with Christ, and Walking by the Spirit), I've gained three real partners in this journey to change, not just my weight but my heart. I'm overcoming the obsession with food and weight, especially the worry over it. I'm finding out how to be led by the Spirit with my eating so that it does not hinder my desire to live for the Lord.

Yes, I recommend this course to others!!! It pains my heart to see others spend so much money and time on special diets. Most of the time, they don't seem productive, and even if people lose weight by them, they are not sustainable because there is no freedom. God's way is the only way - self-denial plus freedom! God's way deals with our hearts and changes us permanently. I hope that we can find more friends to come alongside us."

Eddie writes, "The Lord led me to the Purity Boot Camp course when I was desperate for change. The foundational principles I've learned here have allowed me to walk in freedom and to be guided by the Holy Spirit in my battle.

I've been a Christian for ten years but have always struggled with impurity. I know I'm saved because of the changes the Lord has made in my life, but for some reason, the struggle with impurity persisted.

When I first came to the course, I was skeptical about the effect it would have on my life, but through sincere prayer and the application of the principles of freedom, I have experienced the chains of bondage falling away.

I recommend this course to anyone wanting to experience true freedom from the bondage of sexual impurity. The cross-centered principles laid out in this course, when applied, will begin to transform you in a way that only seeing Jesus' death and resurrection for you can. If you or someone you know are struggling with sexual impurity, I challenge you to try the Setting Captives Free Purity Boot Camp course.


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