The Power of the Cross: 61st Edition, December 16, 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. 

Around the age of 10, I was introduced to pornography and self-gratification by some of the older teenaged boys in my neighborhood. I also found my dad s stash of pornography that he kept on the top shelf in his closet. My involvement continued on through high school even though I made a profession of faith in Christ at age 12.

After being saved, I realized that what I was doing with the older kids was wrong. Although they never thought of it as wrong, I started having the feelings of guilt and shame. After high school, the self-gratification with neighbors stopped, but the porn and self-gratification by myself continued. Then as the internet came into my home so did more porn. It was exciting at first, but my sin was always followed by guilt, shame, and depression.

I wanted to stop my sexual sin and I thought I could do anything I set my mind to do. I cried out to God over and over to deliver me from this darkness, and it would cease for a few weeks and sometimes I could stop for a month or two, but I always went back to it. I often wondered, "Why will God not take this from me?" Eventually, I began to think this is just who I was. I was born this way and more and more was being accepted in this world so I thought I would just have to live with it. I had even gone through the purity course at Setting Captives Free 1.0 but fell back into darkness a few months later.

I have always gone to church, have taught Sunday School, been on a mission trip to Brazil, been on several committees and sing in the praise band. I was such a hypocrite. Oh, if my church only knew, I thought.

Finally, at one of my lowest points when the excitement was no longer what it had started out like, I became scared that I could lose my family or something was going to happen to them. I searched and found the new Purity course at Setting Captives Free 2.0. What a blessing! To really dig into the gospel and know that Jesus Christ died for us all. But it is much more personal than that. He was scorned, mocked and beaten, then hung on a cross for Chad. For ME! Reading all of the Scriptures in the lessons has shown me how much I am loved. Jesus died for me that I may have eternal life. I can drink of the living water and have peace and joy.

Oh, what a difference now that I have been set free. I am over 4 months free from the bondage I was in for most of my life. I have shared this with my wife and my pastor, and I am starting to look towards the cross daily and not look at my past. Jesus Christ has been so patient with me. I will still have sin in my life that I will give to God, but my slavery to sexual impurity is dead and gone. Oh, how I would wish that no children would ever be exposed to pornography. I have never blamed the neighbor boys (2 in particular) that were older and should have known better. I have forgiven them and pray that they have repented and found forgiveness from the Father.

Thank you, Jesus, for not giving up on me! And thank you for leading me back to the gospel through Setting Captives Free and my mentor Tom!


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Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free