Read Galations 5:22-23 at least once during the week. Read it daily if you’d like! We’re wanting the kids to memorize The Fruit of The Spirit.
Romans 15:13 is our memory verse this week. Read the memory verse at the beginning of each devotional time. The goal is to have each member of your family memorize this verse to the best of their ability this week. We’ll also be using the memory verse in our handwriting lessons. You can print out the image above or make your own- just make an effort to put this verse up in your house somewhere. (Image is sized to be printed 5×7)
Day One: What is joy?
Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to describe. If we look the word “joy” up in the dictionary, we’ll find the following definition: a feeling of great pleasure or happiness. If you’ve felt joy, you know that it is just more than that. Is joy happiness? Can you feel joy inside yourself even when you aren’t very happy. Well, yes, you can. Joy is about more than happiness. Anne Frank wrote in her diary, “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” She is hiding in a small house with her family, under immense persecution. You could hardly say that would be a happy time. Yet, she had joy. She had something inside of her that sang out for beauty, even when her circumstances were dire. That is being filled with joy.
Day Two: Joy In Music
Read Psalm 5, taking a special note of verse 11. The Psalms are a collection of songs. The beginning of this song doesn’t song particularly joyful. The psalmist is groaning, crying, and preparing a sacrifice. Sounds like a pretty sad beginning of a song. But the psalmist has joy. Why? Because the Lord is directing his path. Because the Lord will bless him and protect him. The psalmist has joy deep inside, and so he sings. Does music make you feel joyful inside? Do you have a song of joy to sing yourself?
Activity: Sing a joyful song! Pick a favorite of your own or see my list for ideas. Sing together to the Lord. Even if you aren’t very musical, sing along. If you have older kids, take a few minutes for them to write their own Psalm of joy. They can read it, sing it, lyrically act it out- however they want to express their joy! If your kids are younger, you may want to have them give you their reasons to be joyful and you can put a family Psalm together. You can read it, sing it, shout it- however it needs to be expressed.
Day Three: Inexpressible Joy
What reasons do you have to rejoice? In 1 Peter 1:8-9 we read that we can rejoice and have joy in a Savior we’ve never seen. Though we do not see Jesus, we believe He came and died for each of us, so we rejoice! Why? Because Jesus has rescued us from the place of the dead. We have hope. We have a future. We have a reason to be joyful. Even on the bad days, when we spill our milk, loose our shoe, can’t play because of the rain- we still have something to rejoice about. We are blessed people. Bad days do not take our blessings away, so let’s not let them steal our joy, either. J.R.R. Tolkien said, “Fairy tales do not deny the existence of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. It denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat…”
Activity: Image to look at. Think about something that brings you great joy or a time you felt great joy. Draw a picture of that. Use crayons, markers, pencils, paint- whatever you wish to create your artwork.
Day Four: Joy Comes In The Morning
There is a song I used to sing over and over when I was younger. It was a song by the Insyderz (okay, parents, you can laugh at me. Yes, I was a ska/punk youth.) called Mourning Into Dancing. It was a great song and I recommend you look it up on Spotify right now. Your kids will love it. (What kid doesn’t love ska?) That song could always give me a joyful feeling. Why? Because God can turn our mourning into dancing! The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 31:13 that the young women will rejoice and dance and the young men and old will be merry. Why? Because He will turn their mourning into joy! Why? Because He has ransomed and rescued us! He paid the ransom for us to be set free! So rejoice! Sing! Dance! Be Merry!
Activity: Turning mourning into joy! Gather paper plates, paint stirs, and tape or glue. Everyone gets two plates. On one plate, create a mourning face. (Use crayons, markers, paint, yarn, googly eyes, whatever you have handy.) On the other, create a face of joy. Glue/tape one plate to one side of the stir, one to the other. Now, turn mourning into joy!
Day Five: Joyful Hearts
Proverbs 17: 22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” There have been many studies done on how laughter is good for us. Some studies even claim laughter can help people with inflammatory diseases sleep better at night. Laughter reduces the stress hormones in your body. Laughter helps increase blood flow to your heart. So laughter is really a good medicine. You tell a joke, and if it is a good joke, you improve the bodies and spirits of those around you. You have the power to share joy! Mark Twain said, “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.” Just as you have the opportunity to share your joy, you also have the ability to crush someone’s spirit. Mean words, harsh actions- they can crush someone. You’ll leave a mark on every person you meet- choose to share your joy.
Activity: Did you learn your memory verse? Share it! Take turns telling jokes and funny stories. Increase the health of your family- laugh together!