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The Man In The Iron Mask

Affliction Spiritual Growth Perspective

Contributed By: Shane Waldron | Date Posted: 2020-12-15

Scripture: Isaiah 46:10 ; Isaiah 48:3

Author: Shane Waldron
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ILLUSTRATION

The film The Man in the Iron Mask tells the story of a man who is locked in a prison in 17th century France. He is also forced to wear a huge iron mask to hide his face. The man in the iron mask is Philippe, the twin brother of the king. Philippe is forced to wear the mask to hide his identity, so he won’t be a threat to the king’s reign. 

The Kingdom of France faces bankruptcy from King Louis XIV's wars against the Dutch, even as the citizens live in poverty. As the country moves toward revolution, Louis spends his time seducing countless women. 

But a group of men (The Three Musketeers) help Philippe escape from prison, abduct the king, and replace him with his twin brother. Philippe goes on to rule France as king without anyone knowing, becoming one of the greatest kings in the history of the nation. 

In the middle of the story, when Philippe is wearing that iron mask and languishing in prison, he doesn’t know why this is happening to him. He doesn’t even know that he’s the twin brother of the king. And he doesn’t know if he will ever be released. By contrast, the author of the screenplay knew that Philippe's suffering would prepare him to be a great king. 

APPLICATION

The difference between our perspective and Jesus’ perspective is like the difference between a story’s characters, and its author. The characters experience the story as it unfolds, without knowing the end. The author experiences the story as a whole. He knows the beginning, the middle, the end - all at once. And he knows how what is happening in the middle of the story is preparing the characters for the end.  

When we suffer, we can feel like Philippe. We don’t know why this is happening to us. We have no idea when it is going to end, or how it could possibly do us any good. 

But Jesus is the author of our story. He knows how it ends because He has an eternal perspective. He knows how our suffering is refining us in the furnace of affliction.  Jesus sees how it is building our character, and preparing us for what is to come. 

"Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please'" (Isaiah 46:9-10). 

Happy Death Day!

Spiritual Growth Trials Circumstances

Source: Contextiving.org

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Major Dalton | Date Posted: 2017-12-03

Scripture: James 1:2 ; Romans 7:24

Author: Major Dalton
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ILLUSTRATION

Virtually everything we learn, we learn through repetition. Athletes master their field through repetition and call it practice. Students learn complicated formulas and facts through repetition and call it review. Aspiring musicians learn a new instrument through repetition and call it lessons. Virtually everything we know, we learn through repetition.

The film “Happy Death Day” is a cinematic thriller that follows a young college woman named Tree Gelbman. Tree is a self-absorbed material girl. She ignores those who are beneath her. She rejects those who don’t meet her strict social standards. But that all changes after she is murdered on her 21st birthday.

Now, normally, death would bring an end to personal self-development and rehabilitation of flawed character traits. But in Hollywood, death can actually be a catalyst for change.

Tree begins a cycle of reliving the day of her death over and over again. Think horror version of “Groundhog Day.” To break the cycle, she must solve her own murder. But no matter what she does, each day’s reiteration climaxes the same way. Her death.

Ironically each day’s death brings her closer to real life.

APPLICATION

Virtually everything we know, we learned through repetition. And if this is true of academics, athletics, and the arts, why would our most valuable life insights come any other way?

Do you ever feel like you’re living the same tragic day over and over again? You wish things would get better or change but it seems you are starring in your own horror story. Is there anything good that can come from these days?

Sometimes, while we are waiting for our circumstances to change, we change.

Dying daily changed Tree. She began to notice people she had previously ignored. She realizes that too much of her life was committed to impressing others. She came to terms with the loss of her mother and the broken relationship with her father.  When "you relive the same day over and over again,” she confides in a friend, “you kind of start to see who you really are.”

The Apostle Paul wondered aloud who would break the cycle of death in his life: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). In the verse that follows he answered his own question: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Feeding on the Word of God

Bible Devotion Spiritual Growth

Contributed By: Jane Drew | Date Posted: 2017-10-28

Scripture: Deuteronomy 8:3 ; Ezekiel 3:3

Author: Jane Drew
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ILLUSTRATION

A practical illustration of feeding on the word of God:

Make a Bible out of fondant icing and marzipan.  Try to make it look like your own Bible.  I have a small brown leather-look Bible, so I used a block of marzipan and made the cover out of chocolate fondant icing.  I had a whole pile of Bibles - illustrating the many types available to suit each person and their need. the fondant one was on the top of the pile and the congregation assumed it was a real Bible. 

I then explained the importance of reading the Bible, as important as feeding ourselves every day.  I picked the fondant bible up and emphasized how good the Bible is - kind of delicious, before taking a large bite out of it - to the sound of gasps and then laughs.  

It really got the point home.  A word of advice though - you need to take a break from speaking after biting the Bible, although the delay in returning to speaking gave the congregation time to take it in...

APPLICATION

The Bible is satisfying, it feeds our souls.  We need a regular diet of it - not an occasional snack. 

"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103). 

Man Robs Bank To Get Away From Wife

Marriage Consequences Spiritual Growth

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-10-11

Scripture: Proverbs 21:9 ; James 1:3

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Peter Pan Christians

Maturity Love (Divine) Spiritual Growth

Contributed By: Pat Sage | Date Posted: 2017-03-30

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:2 ; 1 Corinthians 13:

Author: Pat Sage
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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Spiritual Growth Sin Nature Fruitfulness

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2016-07-18

Scripture: Matthew 13:37 ; 1 Peter 1:23

Author: Stephen Kingsley
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Be The 2.7 Percent

Spiritual Health Spiritual Growth Maturity

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-06-07

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:5

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Expanding Souls Encounter An Expanding Christ

Perspective Spiritual Growth Jesus' Lordship

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2016-05-01

Scripture: 2 Peter 3:18

Author: C. S. Lewis
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Eating Opens the Appetite

Spiritual Growth Worship Word of God

Contributed By: Shawn Nichols | Date Posted: 2016-04-26

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:2 ; Matthew 5:6

Author: Shawn Nichols
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Personalizing Your Spiritual Diet

Spiritual Growth Communion Word of God

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-02-13

Scripture: John 6:51

Author: Illustration Exchange
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