“God is Our Source of Joy” Family Devotional
As always, alter according the ages of your children. I try to make the devotionals accessible for all ages, but there may be parts you need to tweak. Also, at the bottom of this post you can find a printable PDF of this devotional! 🙂
Explore the Meaning:
What is joy? How would you describe it? Are joy and happiness the same thing? If not, what is the difference?
Happiness is circumstantial, meaning that we are happy if good things are happening to us, but unhappy when bad things are happening to us. Circumstances are the source of happiness.
Joy is not based on circumstances. Joy exists whether things in your life are going great or terrible. God is the source of joy.
How do you think you can have joy even when you are sad or disappointed? (Hopefully by the end of this devotional you will know how.)
Look It Up:
This is where we open up our Bibles to see what God tells us about joy and being joyful!
1. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” —James 1:2-4
What does it mean to face a trial in life? (hard times, difficult decisions, etc.) Do you think it would be hard to view hard times in life with joy? What good comes from facing trials according to James? (perseverance that helps us mature)
2. “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” —Nehemiah 8:10
What does it mean to have the joy of the Lord be your strength? When you are faint of heart or feel weak, you can find your joy in God and that can refresh your spirit and give you hope and strength to face difficult days.
3. “Surely you have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.”
In Psalm 21, David talks about joy in victorious battles, but also “eternal blessings” and the “joy of your presence.” This is a joy that can never be taken from us if we stay faithful to God. God’s presence is the source of joy. We can also take joy in thinking toward heaven where we will be in the presence of God forever with no pain or heartache!
4. “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.” —Psalms 4:7
Who filled David’s heart with joy? God! David recognizes God as his source of joy whether he is living in abundance or famine.
These are just a few verses that specifically talk about joy. But the Bible is full of verses giving us reasons to have joy! Can you name a few? (God’s faithfulness to His people, God’s forgiveness, God keeps His promises, God’s love, Jesus’ sacrifice that allows us to be saved and in God’s presence, God’s beautiful creation, new life in Christ, etc.)
Head knowledge is one thing. Being able to apply and live what you have learned is the important part!
There are two ways you can apply this devotional to your daily life.
- You just brainstormed reasons why we can have joy because of God. How can you live with those things in mind so that you can experience more joy? If God’s presence is the source of joy, how can you make sure you are spending time in His presence? (Prayer, reading God’s word, going to church, counting your blessings.)
- The second way you can apply what you learned about joy is by sharing your joy with others. If God’s presence and great love are our source of joy, how can you share that with others? Can you talk to others about who God is and what He has done in your life? What about simply showing love and kindness to others throughout your day? Could a simple smile or word of encouragement bring someone else joy?
God, thank you for being our source of joy! The happiness the world offers comes and goes, but your joy is always with us because YOU are always with us. We are thankful that during difficult days and wonderful days alike, we can find our comfort and joy in you. Your joy is our strength when life is hard. Thank you for your love, forgiveness, creation and sacrifice! Amen.
Hide It In Your Heart:
This is a memory verse for the month. Write it somewhere where everyone can see it and practice it as a family. Attached is a coloring sheet with the verse on it.
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” —Psalms 16:11
In this part, you create something to visually remind your family throughout the month to have joy. Here are two different ideas:
- “God’s Presence”: Read John 15:1-17 (This is a long, confusing, but beautiful portion of scripture.) Focus your kids in on the idea that life and joy come from staying connected to God—in other words, staying attached to the vine. If we stay connected to God, He will create “fruit” or “good things” through us. After explaining this idea, have your kids paint or draw a vine on poster board or a large sheet of paper. Then have each person in your family draw a branch and write their name along it. Then coming off the branch they can draw (or you could cut out fruit shapes for them to glue on) fruit growing off their branch. If they are old enough, have them label the fruit to represent what God might do through them. (i.e. bring a friend to Jesus, show someone love, encourage another person in their faith, etc.). Write on the top of the illustration “We find our joy in God’s presence!”
- “Counting Your Blessings”: Have each person in your family write or draw out some of the ways God has blessed them. Try to help them to not just focus on material blessings, but on the “eternal blessings” such as those they brainstormed above like God’s love, forgiveness, creation, Jesus’ sacrifice, or God’s faithfulness with His promises.
***Parents, remember that the best visual your kids will have is you! How are you displaying joy for your children on hard days when you are tired, worried, stressed, or facing challenges? Remember, (this scares the socks off me some days) that children learn the most from the example that you set! This can truly bless them or create obstacles in their faith . . .