The Power of the Cross: 28th Edition, April 1st, 2018

Mike Cleveland

Hello friend,


Welcome to the new subscribers just joining our newsletter. We publish once per week on Sunday. The newsletter alternates a short gospel teaching on one week with testimonies from Setting Captives Free students on the following week. We hope you will find the newsletter helpful and encouraging.


This week we have one testimony from the purity course and one from the depression course to share with you:


Purity course:

Anne writes, "My childhood was traumatic. Among other things, there was much abuse of various kinds in my home; I was a victim of ongoing sexual abuse at the hands of multiple men; and I lost my mother, who I saw as my one source of love and stability. As I grew up, I did not respond to these circumstances biblically but instead sinfully acted out in ways that grieved the Lord.

I learned not to turn to the Father in response to turmoil but to what I knew for comfort: sexual sin. I became enslaved to sexual sin in various forms, including masturbation, sex outside the context of marriage, pornography, and even bestiality. None of it ever satisfied me for long before I'd need to move on to the next even more perverse thing, and I was afraid of what my wicked heart could possibly devise next. I took something God created and ordained as good and perverted it for my own sinful pleasure. I deserved death, physical and spiritual, for my sin against the Creator. I deserved for God to harden and give me over to my sin even as I worked to harden my own heart.

God graciously didn't condemn me, though. Instead, He laid every last ounce of that condemnation on His Son at the cross, and Jesus paid my considerable debt in full with His own precious blood. He knew before I even existed what horrible things I would do and wicked thoughts I'd have, even those details no one else knows, and yet He chose to love and save me anyway. Such love is truly amazing and unfathomable. His glory shines brightly against the black backdrop of my sin and childhood.

Oh, and so much more than that! God didn't just save me from my sin -- though that would be more than enough -- but He has set me free to live a life that pleases Him. After so many years enslaved to sexual sin, I really believed I was stuck with it, but throughout this Purity course, I've been amazed at how God has shattered those chains. Yes, I'm still tempted at times, but it's nowhere near as frequent or intense as it used to be. He is giving me the desire and power to please Him. He is transforming this self-glorifying heart so that it seeks to glorify Him instead."

Depression course:

Tori writes, I never knew this kind of friend, I never knew this kind of love. I never knew someone who could care me for me so much to come down and rescue me. To be beaten for my pain, to carry a cross for my pain, to be hung and killed and forsaken for my pain. I think of Jesus saying he wants to rescue me, that I need help and that he’s coming down to help me and he knows he will be punished so much but he does it because he loves me. Every stripe, every hit, every Taunt he was pushing and pushing forward and taking it all to come rescue me. I can’t thank him enough and I always wondered what I’d love? What is real love? And this is love to me. This is care to me. He did not leave me to fall and be in pain, he came and gave everything he was to come rescue me. I am eternally grateful and God is showing me this and really helping me look at the cross and reminding me Jesus did it. I am rescued and there is no need to live in despair as I have fellowship with God now, and the strength and healing and benefits of his sacrifice. Amen!




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Mike Cleveland

Volunteer for Setting Captives Free