When we hear something that sounds too good to be true, that’s usually the case. Have you ever been told that you have thousands of dollars just waiting for you to claim, that you won a free vacation from a random company you’ve never heard of, or that the latest diet craze will finally work miracles? In each of those cases you may wonder, “There’s no way that’s true,” or “What’s the catch?” But what if you were told that, because of His love for you, the King of the universe sent His only Son to this broken world to live a perfect life and die in your place? And then, because He is God, He came back to life again 3 days later and promises that if you receive His free gift of grace, you’ll get to live with Him forever where there is no suffering, no sickness, no sadness, no death. This story, which seems too good to be true but isn’t, is at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the reason we can have joy!
MEMORY VERSE: “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again - rejoice!" Philippians
The disciples didn’t know what to think. The man they left everything for and followed for 3 years was killed. Then, 3 days later, some of the women they knew said that the tomb was empty and were told by an angel that Jesus had risen. What?! Peter and John also saw the empty tomb, and two friends said that Jesus walked with them for a while along the road but then He just disappeared. All of this sounded way too good to be true. But suddenly, Jesus Himself was standing among them, holding out His hands so they could see and touch the scars that all our sins cost Him. He was alive! And He still is. This amazing news brought the disciples great joy and it still brings joy to all of us who believe it today!
After dinner this week gather your family together in the living room to go on a “journey of joy” in the Psalms. The activity is to give every person in your family 2 - 5 verses that talk about joy to look up and read aloud from the Bible. A great resource is Biblegateway.com that has a great search engine. Here are a few passages to get you started: Psalm 16:11, 19:8, 28:7, 51:12 and 95:1. After you have all found and read your verses aloud, discuss as a family what you noticed or learned while listening to what God’s Word says about joy.
While driving with your family, ask everyone to name a few things that bring them joy. Keep a mental list in your head and repeat what everyone said. Then, ask your kids if they believe that all of the things they listed would bring them joy forever. Ask them if they would want joy forever. Explain that the most joyful news in the world is that Jesus is alive today after having paid the death penalty for our sins! Because Jesus is alive, we can have joy!
As your family is getting ready for bed, remind your kids that joy is dependent on God and NOT our circumstances. This means that our circumstances cannot steal our joy because God is bigger than our circumstances and He never changes! Remember, because God is trustworthy, we can have joy. Spend time in prayer thanking God for keeping the best promise ever, sending His Son, Jesus, to make a way for us to have a relationship with God through Christ’s death and resurrection!
What are things that you find yourself doing when you are REALLY happy or excited? Do you dance? Do you sing? As a family, put together a “Joyful Joyful” playlist with fun and upbeat songs about God that you can sing and dance along to while doing chores around the house, riding in the car, to wake yourselves up in the morning, and more! Creating a playlist is not only a fun activity to do together, it gives you something to listen to that reminds you of who God is and what all He’s done. Joyful Joyful, indeed! Speaking of, need some help getting your playlist started? Consider Oh Happy Day and Joyful Joyful from Sister Act 2.
Pray and thank God for sending Jesus and that because He is alive, we can have joy!
Next week we will get to learn that because God is in control, we can have joy! Image via Unsplash