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The Power of the Cross: 81st Edition, May 26, 2019

Mike Cleveland
 

Greetings friends,

Welcome to the new subscribers just joining us. We publish once per week on Sunday. The newsletter shares short gospel teachings and testimonies from Setting Captives Free students. We hope you will find the newsletter helpful and encouraging.

For the teaching this week, we want to share with you gospel preaching mixed with worship. This sermon is from Setting Captives Free board member, Bill Miller. 


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It is amazing to see the Lord change a person’s heart and life? This week we have two testimonies of people who are being transformed by the power of the cross of Jesus Christ:

Jeromy writes, "The Setting Captives Free Purity course is life-transformational! My Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ has worked mightily in my life, and He is continuing to do so! He was there before I existed and before I found myself trapped in the deadly grip of sexual sin, and He provided the way for me. It is to Him that I give the glory of my redemptive story from captivity.

I was exposed to pornography at around the age of 5 at a neighbor's house. I did not know even what I was looking at, but this sin took a grip on my heart, and I was a willing participant. Later in life, full captivity settled in on my heart and soul, and the darkness of impurity prevailed as I fully pursued the lusts of my flesh. I was held in such deep darkness starting in my early teenage years. I began to look at any form of pornography and sensuality that I could find, and self-gratify almost continually. I was held tight in the grip of shame, condemnation, and defeat. I avoided eye contact and even began secretly seeking out, and even stealing, alcohol to numb the pain that I was experiencing. It was a very isolating and dark time in my life. I hated who I had become but could find no way out. This sinful behavior only escalated and increased during my college years.

Then, in college, I met this wonderful girl who is now my beloved wife. I ended up going to a church revival with her, and my heart began to soften. Through a series of events, I re-committed my life to the Lord that summer at a Christian college summer camp. The following summer my wife and I married and then continued in college. I thought I was finally getting it together and living a life "appropriate" for my Lord Jesus. But I was wrong.

Impurity and lust kept creeping back into my life. I would allow forms of pornography into my soul, lust after other woman and self-gratification. The shame, guilt, and condemnation returned as well. I now found myself in heavy chains of bondage, conflicted and seeing no way out.

Friends, without writing a book on the last 30+ years, I tell you that this has been my cycle of captivity and it has often felt to me like hell on earth. Conflicted, angry, guilt-ridden, full of shame, hypocrisy, low self-esteem, without hope, you name it! All this while being involved in the church, being a father, husband, leading small groups at church and being in a youth leadership role. I have gone through periods of seeking help through church recovery groups, counseling, accountability and reading Christian self-help books. All have been good but not genuinely setting me free.

I truly am thankful for Setting Captives Free pointing me fully back to the cross of Jesus. Over and over again while going through this Purity study, I found myself at the foot of the cross cleansed, washed, purified in Jesus, robed in white and hearing my Father in Heaven say, "It is well, my son; I have paid the price entirely for your sins, past, present and future." That is huge!

I stumble in many ways, but it is no longer my efforts, or lack thereof, that I look to but rather the cross of Christ. The cross of Jesus has become very very real to me and has stopped me now in my emotional/thought tracks at times. I tremble at this and yet find joy and peace in my soul now in the gospel of Jesus Christ!

It is to the cross I cling, praising my Lord and Saviour, soaking in His eternal agape love, seeing what He did for me on the cross and living in His resurrection power. Today, I live not only in freedom from captivity to impurity, but I also find joy, peace, and love in my soul that cannot be explained any other way. Friend, I hope too that you can find this same freedom, joy, peace, and love in your life. It cannot be found in any other than the name of Jesus and turning to His cross!”


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April writes, "I only have praise for God for bringing me to Setting Captives Free. I decided to enroll in the Depression course with a friend because I could see that she was where I was a few years ago - struggling to accept and receive God's love. After completing the Depression course, I can now say that the darkness of depression no longer has any power over me. Praise Jesus!

I may fail, but God's truth counters all the lies that darkness tries to hold over me. This course had brought the gospel of Jesus to me in so many ways and levels, it has brought greater joy to my heart and life.

I used to cringe at those people who were always upbeat, declaring God goodness. Now, I find I'm that very person. I am encouraging all who might express concerns over things in their life to trust God. God will provide what you need when you need it. For me, it was bringing this course to me just when I needed it."

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Friend if you find you are in agreement with the mission of Setting Captives Free, to see the gospel of Jesus Christ change hearts and lives, would you please consider helping us to continue reaching people with the gospel? Please pray for us, and also consider setting up a monthly tax-deductible donation of any amount. https://settingcaptivesfree.com/donate. Thank you in advance.

Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free