The Power of the Cross: 52nd Edition, October 7, 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. 


You are invited to join us this coming Monday (tomorrow), the 8th of October for a live, interactive learning course called “Set Free”. This is the fourth and final live study series on how to be set free, and if you’d like to prepare please read Romans 6:11-14. To join simply click on this link on Monday at 6:00 PM Pacific/9:00 PM Eastern. If your email does not take you to the correct link you can copy and paste this link into your browser: 

Or Telephone:
US: +1-408-638-0986
Meeting ID: 793-816-756


We just released a new course called Set Free by Love: Stories of Transformed Lives. These are testimonies of Setting Captives Free mentors and others showing that the gospel of Jesus Christ can set anyone free from anything. You can view the course here:


This week’s testimony is a powerful illustration of Jesus’ own statement: “Whoever sins is a slave of sin….who the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:34, 36).

Jennifer writes, "I have been a Christian almost all my life. God was always very real to me and I had a relationship with Jesus. I think there were thought strongholds in my life even from a very young age which I had not realized. I was a good Christian for all intents and purposes but I don't think I fully understood the extent of God's love and grace. I was living a legalistic christian life, rather like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son. God's way was not a chore but I did not realize I was only putting myself under the Law and following rules. I did not understand God's grace. I was self-righteous and self-confident. 

Nine years ago I clicked on a link that led me to a porn site and I lingered on that site. I knew it was wrong but that did not stop me. It only increased with time. Every time I fell, I was filled with shame and regret. I knew the LORD and I knew I was stepping out of His will. But, that did not stop me. This was followed by a litany of "I will not do this again. I will try harder to resist. I am very sorry, LORD! 

I was still praying with people, reading the Bible and feeling extremely convicted but had no idea what to do. I could not tell anyone about this because I did not think my friends would understand. There would be days when I would not fall and just when I would think I was over it, I would fall again. It was a frustrating, depressing cycle of shame and regret and helplessness. Getting married did not help either. 

Then, I met a friend who shared her Christian journey with me and it made me bold to tell her that I was struggling with impurity in my life. She introduced me to Setting Captives Free. The change has been unbelievable. 

I realized that I did not understand the cross at all! I knew I was saved but I thought the rest was up to me - my effort, my will power. I had a wrong view of the LORD. Jesus loves me so much that He came down to earth, took on the body of a man, suffered and died for me. His love for me is so much that He chose to go through the painful way of the cross to save me. Me! And He did not stop there. He continues to cover me with the blood that He shed on Calvary. He continues to love me, continues to forgive me. He has redeemed me from the power of sin and death and He has opened the gates of heaven for me. I am free from sin. 

Ever since I have been saved I am under the power of God and not under Satan. I am victorious because Jesus conquered the devil by His death and resurrection. But, I had been living like the exact opposite. The reason - I had lost my focus. I had taken my eyes off the cross and I had been trying in my own strength. The remedy - to come back to the cross. I have realized that there is no hope for me in heaven or on earth without the cross. Only the cross of Jesus. The cross not only saves me, it also sanctifies me - makes me more and more like Jesus the longer I tarry at the foot of the cross. When I am at the cross, the temptations of the world fade away. There is no need to try harder or resist more. There is just abiding in Jesus and remaining in His love. It has been amazing. 

I feel like the prodigal son. I have returned to my Father. It was good that I fell! Now, I have understood His love in a whole new way and He is showing me new things in His Word, every day. It was like having wings but being tied down with a ball and chain. I could not fly. I just flapped around and fell back to the ground. Now, the blood of Jesus has set me free. The chains are gone. Psalm 124 : 7,8 We have escaped like a bird from the fowler's snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. I am free to fly. I am not perfect, but I don't have to be. My LORD Jesus is perfect! He is my righteousness and my confidence is in Him alone. His love and His faithfulness will sustain me, keep me close to Him and help me to live a life that pleases Him. When He returns He will present me to Himself as His perfect Bride, blameless and pure. Hallelujah!!"


Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free