I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
There are two ways to prepare for the presentation of this devotion/object lesson:
1) Use 1 large poster that is easily seen from the back of the room. With a permanent marker, draw a black dot at any random spot on the poster.
2) Use plain 3x5 or 4x6 index cards and place a black dot on each one. It doesn't matter if the dots are drawn in the same spot on each card. The cards with a black dot will be given to each person in the audience. Note: If all you have available are cards with lines printed on them, use the plain back side of the card. The audience member may want to make notes about the lesson on the lined side. Doing this on the small cards is a good way for the audience to share this object lesson later with others. (Taking notes might encourage them to do so.)
If using the large poster, hold it up or put it on an easel for everyone to see.
Ask, "What do you see?" (On the poster or cards. Most, if not all, will finally come to the conclusion that they see a black dot.)
Challenge them to take their time and look again carefully.
Ask, "Do you see anything other than the dot?" If the answer comes back still nothing is seen but the black dot, the speaker says, "I'm really surprised. You have completely overlooked the most important thing of all - the dot you see is on PAPER, right? Do you think it is interesting that you looked so hard and never even noticed that the dot was ON paper?"
That tends to be the way we are in life as well. Our heaviest burdens are what we focus on, what we see first in our daily lives. We all have problems that come up every day. Some are big and some small. Oftentimes it seems like we get up in the morning focusing on what difficulties we anticipate for the day and go to bed at night replaying our challenges of the day. What went wrong? Why did it go wrong? Who wronged you, or who did you wrong and why did that happen? The black dot in our everyday life - keeps our focus on negative things in our lives. The black dots consume our thoughts. The black dots take over most of our day by demanding our planning our every hour. We make plans to right the wrongs plans to get even. We devise plans to figure out how to meet the needs of others, or how to get others to meet OUR needs. We spend so much time concentrating on the trials, twists and turns of life, handling our burdens, as well as our family and friend's burdens, that we fail to notice the white paper!
What if we changed our focus?
What IF - we began to look at all the other space - all the other moments in life that have gone well - that have brought JOY in the midst of our challenges? What if we looked at a half empty jar of water and saw it as half full, instead? What if we put our minds to praising GOD for all the things that were right, and not wrong? What IF we thought about JESUS and all the Promises HE has given us to help us through hard times? (Philippians 4:13, Romans 8:28) What if we counted BLESSINGS instead of problems? What if we took time to realize ALL GOD has given and done for us - so many things we didn't even ask for, yet we take for granted, such as breathing; eyesight; hearing; the ability to feel with our hands and our hearts; the warmth of the sun; the beauty of a rainbow; the safety of our home?
Ask your audience to share their thoughts of wonderful things from GOD that they had not ever asked for, but enjoy.
Engage your audience on how they think their outlook on life might be if we traded seeing the many positive things GOD has done, rather than the black dots.
Point out that most black dots are consequences of our personal choices we have made, and that GOD's Word tells us that HE would have us to seek HIM and HIS ways so that HE can guard us from the consequences of making wrong choices.
Scripture to Apply
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?" Matthew 7:11.
Dear Heavenly Father, YOU are the KING of KINGS, YOU are the MAKER/CREATOR of ALL! Help my heart see more clearly the goodness that YOU have for me. Make me stronger in making good decisions. Make me faster to turn from doing things my way and realize the good that you have waiting. Thank YOU for all you have done for me. Forgive me for missing so much and not thanking YOU enough. Please help my eyes to see more clearly and stay focused on YOU. In the Name of JESUS, AMEN!
Copyright 2018 Emmalea Butler
Recently, I did the Black Dot devotion at The Lord's Locker, a local food pantry, which I coordinate. I added a twist to it. I went through the set up with our guests each having a 3x5 card with a dot on it. They all responded as expected - seeing only the black dot. I pointed out that this represented the problems they focus on in their lives the negative things that pull them down, keep them worrying, angry and depressed, etc. They totally missed all the white area that represented all that GOD does that we don't even think about - or thank HIM for doing. We spent a few minutes discussing all that GOD does for us. (The crowd interacted well on both points).
Then I reversed the idea. I demonstrated that it is difficult to stand on one foot while holding the other up. The older we get it seems even more difficult. THEN I shared if you fix your eyes on one spot in the room and repeat that exercise it is possible to hold your balance better. I shared that the exercise reminded me of the Matthew 14 text on Peter walking on the water - taking his eyes off JESUS and sinking - only to have JESUS rescue him, and then read it to them from the Bible.
If we looked at the white area on the card that represented ALL of our problems, and allow the dot to stand as a reminder to FOCUS on JESUS whenever life gets overwhelming, then we are reminded that he will bring the balance of life back to manageable. This reinforced fixing our eyes on the ONE who will keep us balanced in life, JESUS.
Return to the Devotionals for Older Teens & Adults.
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