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The Power of the Cross: 32nd Edition, April 29, 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. 

We have two testimonies for you this week: one from the A United Front Course and one from purity course:

A United Front:

LaTarshia writes: "I was finishing up reading a Christian book.. and I was encouraged by things that I read there but I needed more.  At the end of the book, there was provided a list of resources of which "Setting Captives Free" was one where God lead me.  I was ecstatic that this course, "A United Front", was available to spouses who are in the midst of sexual sin in their marriages.  I signed up and was assigned a mentor and started my first lesson.  At this time, I was at less than a month of having knowledge of my husbands sexual impurity.  I was broken, angry, hurt and not always walking in the spirit of love.  Through the lessons, I quickly began to see the love of God for me and my husband.  I began to see the enemies hand trying to overtake me through blaming and shaming my husband.  Thank God that through the experience of the writers of this course and through God's divine guidance, I was constantly directed back to the cross where my Savior died for me AND my husband.  The redemptive work that Christ did on the cross so many years ago was and is still the solution for sin. The lessons were relevant and timely to deal with all of the emotions, ideas and opinions that I had as I tried to navigate my way through so much hurt and pain.  I can recall thinking so many times that, I couldn't believe the encouragement, love, and support that I found here for free compared to what I received from a paid therapist.  The lessons are invaluable.. I also enjoyed, "Twist", which helped to create hope to the community of students through personal testimonies and prayer for one another.  Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed this course and my entire family has been Blessed because my life has been forever changed.  Thank you so much and may God continue to Bless you!!”

Purity course:

Matthew writes, "Like many guys, I was exposed to pornography at a young age, perhaps around the age of ten or eleven. At first, I did not understand what it was, but I did realize the effect it had on me. Having no idea that it was wrong, I thought of pornography as something that only adults could enjoy, much like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.

However, as a teenager with uncontrolled hormones, I entered high school in bondage to sexual impurity. When not using pornography as my source for indulging in temptation, I was finding other means to satisfy it. This habit continued for years, even after I left high school. At the age of twenty and still in bondage, I started seeing a girl. Things were fine, but soon my habitual sin was discovered and our relationship started to fall apart. As expected, this created a division between us that eventually resulted in us breaking up.
The breakup brought me to one of the lowest points of my life, and I had nowhere to turn but to God. During that time, He truly revealed Himself to me, and I constantly experienced His presence surrounding me in those moments when my heart may have been beating but I felt dead inside. The Lord brought me out of that pit of despair, and my faith in God, my relationship with God, and my knowledge of God was at an all-time high.

Despite this, my bondage to sexual impurity was still there. At this point, I had tried all sorts of ways to escape the prison cell, but everything I tried did not work. In this prison cell, I felt like I could walk around, but I could never leave the prison cell. At times, I had moments of great victory over sexual impurity, which was the equivalent of the prison cell door opening and me trying to escape. I could not escape because I felt like there was a shackle around my ankle that allowed me to reach the exit but no farther.

Eventually, I gave up and accepted my bondage. I told myself that perhaps everyone struggled with some sort of bondage and this was my bondage that I had to endure for the rest of my life. The enemy had forced me into submission and trained me to think that I was unable to escape my prison cell, so I crawled into a corner and sat there. I felt alone and cursed.

Once I came across Setting Captives Free, I thought that this would be just another method of me trying to escape my bondage, but I decided to give it a try anyways. What I experienced in this course was unlike anything I had ever done, though: instead of hearing, "Do X, Y, and Z to be sexually pure," I heard, "Jesus has done X, Y, and Z for you; in fact, He has done A through W as well - He has done everything!

I discovered that the gospel was not solely meant to grant eternal life to a believer, but it can set them free from any bondage. Jesus was punished on my behalf, and, in doing so, He made me righteous and sinless before God. When Jesus died, I died with Him, and when He rose again on the third day, I rose with Him.
Jesus set me free! Even as I huddled in a corner of my prison cell, I saw Jesus appear in a brilliant light before me. He touched my shackle and it snapped. I immediately ran out of that prison cell. I fled from sexual immorality and ran straight to the cross. To this day, I kneel before it and worship the One who gave it all for me.

Whenever temptation comes my way, I put in my mind the agonizing suffering that Jesus went through for my sin; I see Him being lashed, beaten, spit upon, and carrying my cross to Golgotha to be nailed to it. I see Jesus being lifted up, and I immediately fall to my knees before the cross. He looks down at me and says, "Matthew, I'm dying for you. Through my death, you will have everlasting freedom from sexual impurity. You will be with Me in paradise, and your verdict will be 'not guilty' before my Father."

This message is so powerful, and it is through the gospel that I resist temptation. With this change of heart, I feel different, I feel clean, I feel renewed, and how Paul must have felt when the scales fell from His eyes. I no longer have a desire or taste for pornography or any form of sexual impurity. God has put a new song in me, a song that I use to sing and praise Jesus. Every day, the gospel continues to be my sword. I wear my armor in readiness for the enemy to attack, but it really is not me who is defending but Jesus Christ who defends me. Satan can no longer accuse me because Jesus took on the punishment that I deserved.
In Him, I find rest, I find security, I find love, and I find salvation.

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Dear friend, we are desiring to get the message of the power of the cross out to as many people as we can. Please consider forwarding or posting and inviting others to subscribe. Anyone can subscribe by sending a blank email to main+subscribe@SettingCaptivesFree.groups.io. 


Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free