JOY, LIKE ALL GOOD THINGS, COMES FROM GOD.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Nehemiah 8:1-3, 9-10.
Verse of the Day: “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
“All right!” Billy shouted.
He and Peggy flashed excited grins at each other. Mom and Dad had just announced that they were short on money until payday, so they would have to “make do” until then. And, since there weren’t many groceries in the house, they would have to use what they had; that meant they would be having pancakes for dinner.
Mom and Dad were surprised at their children’s reaction to the news. “What are you so happy about?”
“We get to have breakfast for dinner!” Peggy said.
“Yeah,” Billy agreed. “It’ll be fun!”
Mom laughed. “Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction.” She turned to her husband. “Were you?”
Dad’s face was more serious, but his expression was happy. “No, I wasn’t. I think you and I have a thing or two to learn from our kids.”
“You have something to learn from us?” Peggy asked with amazement.
“Yes,” Dad said. He crouched down and took the children into his arms. “Your mother and I have been sad lately because we don’t always have the money we need to buy things, even things like groceries.” He exchanged a meaningful glance with Mom. “But you two have reminded us that joy doesn’t depend on our circumstances.”
“What do you mean, Daddy?” Billy asked.
Mom knelt on the floor beside her husband and children and wrapped her arms around all three. “What he means is, you two are grateful for the simplest things, and we love that about you. You don’t need a fancy house or a steak dinner to make you happy, because you know how to be joyful.”
“Oh, that’s easy, Mom,” Peggy said.
“Yes, it is, in a way,” Mom said. “Because joy comes from God. Your father and I just needed to remember that we can rejoice even when we have to eat pancakes for dinner.”
“I like pancakes!” Billy said.
“So do we,” Dad said, hugging his family. “So do we.”
TO DISCUSS: What do you think the Bible means when it says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength?” Have you been joyful or grouchy or sad lately? Do you need to be more joyful? How can you let God produce joy in your life this week?
TO PRAY: “Holy Lord, thank you for the joy of your presence in our lives.”