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The Power of the Cross: 40th Edition, July 15, 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 I want to share one passage of Scripture with you, and then three testimonies that illustrate that Scripture. Here it is:

Colossians 2:13-14 (NCV) When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross.

The below testimonies illustrate the truth that forgiveness of sins raises us to life with Christ, and that forgiveness happened at the cross. Listen to this amazing testimony from David, who has lost nearly 30 pounds, all by focusing on the cross:

David’s Weight Loss Testimony. Click this link to listen to it: https://s3.amazonaws.com/cdn.gospelpaths.com/tenants/1/audio/David.mp3

Next we have Nicholas’ purity testimony: 

Nicholas writes, "I grew up in an amazing Christian family and went to great, Bible-teaching church. I got saved at a young age, and very much knew and believed what salvation was, but after a few years I became very complacent and comfortable in my faith, and began depending on the circumstances around me to keep me strong rather than building a personal relationship with God.

In middle school, my slavery to pornography began. One day, I saw a general, if not somewhat promiscuous, ad that is common place on TV today. However, my young teenage mind suddenly wanted to see more, so this led to internet searches and within a couple months of seeing that ad, I had become completely enslaved to pornography. I was still very involved in my church, and all my life I had been considered one of the "good kids." Because of this, I never confessed my sin to anyone, thinking I could fight it on my own, all the while I fell further and further.

By the time I reached college, I had almost no relationship with Jesus. I was very depressed, and truly believed that God probably regretted even creating me. I believed that God could save the worst of all sinners, but I did not believe that promise applied to me. There were many nights where my only prayer was that God would let me die in my sleep, so I wouldn't have to wake up and face another day.

A year in to my graduate program, I had finally been broken enough that I put aside what little pride I had left and confessed my sins to a friend. About a year later, he introduced me to Setting Captives Free. I began doing the lessons, and almost immediately the lessons completely changed my life. This was the first time I had ever been taught that when Jesus became sin on that cross, it was my flesh being pierced! That is was Jesus, dying, as if He was my flesh, and when He was raised to life again, that it was me being raised to life in Christ. This when I first truly understood the meaning behind "being raised to life in Christ." Now, I don't see God as a distant God who has turned His back on me. Suddenly I realize how much God loves me, despite everything I've done. That Jesus has taken my old, tattered clothes, and given me clean clothes. I was a broken, filthy man living on the streets, and Jesus cleansed me, gave me a home and a new life. 

I'm not perfect, but now my focus has been completely changed. I no longer focus on my own guilt, shame, and shortcomings. I keep my eyes on Jesus' love, grace, and mercy, and that is what sustains me. Jesus has set me free from my prison of sin and pornography. Instead of going to sleep hoping to not wake up, I go to sleep realizing that tomorrow is a new day that God has blessed me with, and it's another opportunity I get to honor God with my life. It's another day I get to spend deepening my relationship with Jesus. This freedom is truly found only at the cross of Christ. If we would just turn our eyes away from our own guilt and see that Jesus has been right there the whole time, He will be faithful, and reach out to us to draw us out of the pit.


Finally, we have Amanda’s testimony after completing the Setting Captives Free depression course:

Amanda writes, "I started the depression course after I had finished the weight loss course and realized that the root of my weight issues and laziness had come from depression. I had lived many years under the yoke of what I see now as "works based religion." We are told to pray, read our bible, live righteously, be kind, take of the old coat and put on the new, etc., but sadly many times we are not shown how to do so. There is no wonder I and many others lived in depression. I was trying to do things that I cannot do. 

The only way to be truly free is to let Jesus do what He came to do. He truly sets us free. I am guilty of using Jesus as my ticket out of Hell, which He gladly gave me, but I left Him at the "ticket booth" and was trying to ride the train alone and it was derailing. I praise Him that I don't have to do it alone, I can leave it all up to Him like He wants me to. I can trust Him. 

If there is anything I've realized through this course is I can trust Him, He loves and cares for me. He wants me to have an abundant life, not one lived in fear, dread, anger bitterness, resentment, etc. He bore all that so that I don't have to. I can overcome those things because He has already born them. He took it all on the cross and He now intercedes for me. Praise His Holy Name for broken chains, an open prison door, for light in my darkness, and for freedom!”

Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free