The Power of the Cross: 50th Edition, September 23, 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 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. 

I want to begin this newsletter this week by saying that the cross of Jesus Christ has power! Sure, that is just me saying that, but I want to prove it to you this week, and I will do so by giving you two testimonies of what the cross has accomplished in people’s lives. 

The first is a wife with feelings of betrayal and hurt, the second is a previous drunk swallowed up in depression; both are being healed by the powerful love of Jesus Christ who died on a cross, shedding His own blood for these people. And He did it for you too friend!

The first testimony is from Emily, listen to the raw emotion in her voice stemming from all the love that the Lord Jesus has poured out on her and her husband at the cross. To hear it click here: 

Next is a man who has been changed right at the foot of the cross, as he looks up and listens and sees the scene unfold before him. Bryan from the Depression course writes the following:

Bryan writes, "When I entered this course from Setting Captives Free the darkness of my burdens, my pain, my worry, my anxiety, my shame, my guilt, the pain of dissapointment I was able to feel in others had a suffocating grip on my heart. A grip so tight I thought the bruises it left behind would never heal. 

I have told so many people so many times over how badly I don’t want to be an alcoholic, how badly that I want to beat this darkness, how it is not who I am and not who I want to be. But time and time it got the best of me over and over and people simply gave up on me. They stopped looking at what was inside and just focused on what alcohol and this darkness had done to me on the outside. I don’t blame them for doing anything wrong, but all that did for me inside was tightened the grip around my heart. It gave the demons working in me to whisper in my ear and reassure me that I am an alcoholic, I am meant to live with this darkness, “see no one really loves you” they whispered over and over again. I believed so many voices that weren’t from God and I was lost.

I think back to the day that this depression course was introduced to me. God was working in my life even then. I without hesitation jumped on the idea. I knew that in my heart what I had been telling people about wanting nothing more than to beat all of this, to find a hope and a faith and a love, was true. Despite what my actions may have said on the outside, deep inside I was scared and alone, and wanted nothing more than to show the world that I can overcome. Running full speed ahead towards God was something I never had tried. I took part in all the right actions. Did all the right moves. I prayed, went to church, volunteered to take part in things at church, read the Gospel, read devotions, but I never really did it with any feeling inside.

God used this course to remind me of His Grace. He used this course to bring me to the cross even with a broken heart. Even with the dirt, the shame, the burdens of my past he lead me to his Son. From there Jesus took over. Instead of forever being consumed and suffocated by my seemingly impossible circumstances I was able to focus on the love that Jesus displayed for me. I was able to focus on the fact that Jesus experienced all of the pains I was feeling, took them with him and with his last breath told me that I will forever be here so that you don’t need to feel them too.

I am still in process. Everyday starts fresh with similar feelings of loneliness, a burden of guilt, the pain of shame, the worry of never being able to move forward from the shame and sins of my past. Everyday also now starts with a hope that I have never felt before. A hope through Jesus and the cross, that mercies will start fresh.

The biggest thing this course has done for me is to give me a hope for tomorrow. It has reminded me that the answers to escaping the darkest valleys of my life can be found by humbly coming to the cross. Humbly lifting all worries through prayer to Jesus and to God, and allowing the Holy Spirit to move in me. That I can “numb” the pain through love and not liquor. Because love will provide a hope and a faith. Liquor provided nothing more than pain and fear. I don’t know about you, but I will choose love, hope and faith any day over pain, fear, and darkness."


Mike Cleveland