Dad and son devotionals on joy from Devotions with Dad

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Discover Joy (2 of 3)

Devotional for dads of sons Only:

Joy Workshop

“He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.”  Proverbs 17:21

Fools aren’t just the teenage guys who burn out their tires and smash mailboxes.  Boys who joke and laugh about everything are fools in the making.  Last week we talked about girls who mope and manipulate others.  In this dad-son devotional, let’s examine those boys who goof off too much.

Now, I love to have fun.  Don’t misunderstand me for being a solemn do-gooder.  I have pulled my share of pranks and told a pile of jokes (most unsuccessfully).  When I talk about a foolish son, Dad, I mean the one who doesn’t know when to stop.  I mean the one who thinks life is about getting people to laugh at him.  The one who antagonizes others just to laugh at their exasperation.  The one who pulls the girls’ hair, sticks out his tongue at authority, and whispers to his friends in church.

A foolish boy is starving for attention.  He just wants to be recognized.  He wants to impact his world.  Rather than give this son what he wants, however, I suggest Dad give him what he needs.

Foolish young men feel the need for making a place in society.  They feel shut out and purposeless in the real world.  Rather than examine their social displacement (which they probably lack the cognitive ability to do) they choose instead to agitate the order from which they feel excluded.  If they cannot swim in the pond, they will throw rocks at those who are.  If they cannot go fishing, they will steal another’s bait.  If they cannot do well in school, they will ridicule those who do.

Find your place in this world. First, Dad, ask yourself whether you have found your life purpose.  Many young fools simply model after fathers who have no sense of destiny either.  If Dad has not found his calling in life and his God-given purpose, then how will his son do so?  You find your life purpose by pursuing Jesus.  As a side benefit, a purpose-filled man will have an easier time getting his wife to follow him (how can she follow a slob who is not going anywhere in life?).

Next, devoted Dad, rather than telling the foolish son, “Stop being so ridiculous,” you can start preparing him for purpose.  Give him a skill.  What trade or skill do you know?  Can you teach him lawn care?  Can you show him how to repair small engines or bicycles?  Can you teach him how to build computers?  Can you teach him how to play an instrument?  If you do not have a skill he likes, can you hook him up with a man who will teach him something he would enjoy?

Develop responsibility in your son. Stop rewarding him for just doing what he is told.  Start rewarding him when he thinks to take out the trash on his own.  Make a big deal when he takes initiative to wash the car or sweep the walkway.  Let him feel that he has a distinct place in life, and much of his giddy stupidity will disappear like fog in the sunshine.

Find something that becomes his own task.  Let him know that the trash or the lawn is only going to get done if he does it.  Self-esteem develops in those who know others can depend on them.  Of course you may have to use rewards and incentives along the way.

See the hope in your foolish boy.   For one thing, he has energy.  For another, he is not afraid to try new things.  Channel those character traits into something worthwhile, and you will have a son who makes you proud.  For the long term, train your boy for leadership. Your dad-son devotions together will also help him become a man who moves the world.

“The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.”  Proverbs 23:24


Have some great laughs with the family when you play Mad Gab. Our family has had loads of fun with this tongue-twisting game!


Dad, share this story with your kids:

The Joy Game

Grandma had been telling Misty about a little girl who ran away and got lost in the big city.  Her story had been interrupted by a phone call.

“That was your Dad,” Grandma said as she hung up the phone.  “They just arrived at their hotel.”

Misty sighed.  “I just wish I could be there, too.”

“Now, where was I?”

“Grandma!” Misty moaned, “you were telling about the little girl and how she got lost trying to runaway and get back to the country.  She went down a street where a lot of people were and she got scared.  What happened?”

“Well, she turned around.  She turned and ran all the way back to the sidewalk where all the businesses were.  She figured only nice people would be in that area.  But by the time she got back, most of the stores were closing.  She noticed  the sun was going down and worried  she might have to sleep outside.  So, she did the smartest thing she could think of—she started back toward the apartment building she had come from.”

Misty inched toward the edge of her chair.  “Did she get back okay?”

“Well, it wasn’t that simple.  She walked up the street she had followed, but all the buildings looked backwards to her and she wasn’t sure where to turn, or where the park was anymore.  She thought she heard someone following her so she hurried more.  Soon she was running.  That’s when the policeman caught her.”

“Oh, no, was he mad?”

“No.  He grabbed her before she ran out across a busy street.”

“Did she fight him?”

“No.  She just looked up at his kind brown eyes and started crying.”

“What did he do?”

“He asked her name and where she was going.  She told him.  And he informed her she was going the wrong direction.  He said that since it was dark, she ought to hop in with him and he would take her to the right place.”

“Did she?”

“She jumped in the seat as soon as he opened the door.  She was so glad to be off the street away from all those people she didn’t know.  As he drove, he asked what she was doing.  When she told him, he laughed.”

“At least he wasn’t mad.”

“No, but someone else was when she got home.  Her parents’ eyes were red from crying.  They didn’t know what had happened to her.  They were glad to get her back so soon, but they also told her what she did was very, very wicked.  They sent her straight to bed that night.  She felt bad for what she had done, but she was very glad to be back in her own bed again.”

“Did she ever try to get away again?”

“No.  The next morning, Sarah’s dad came in and talked with her.  He asked her why she had run off.  She told him that she wasn’t happy in the city.  He explained to her again why they had to move into town.  Then he said, ‘I want to teach you something fun, Sarah.’

“‘What’s that?’ she asked.  ‘I want you to learn the joy game.’”

“What’s the joy game?” Misty asked.

“It’s something Sarah’s dad learned when he was really sick one time.  He taught himself to look only for good things he could thank God for.  He taught Sarah to play this game, too.”

“What did she find to be thankful for?”

“At first she couldn’t think of anything.  She looked around the room and suddenly realized one thing she still had—her bed.  She thanked God for her bed. Then, she thanked Him for her mom and dad.  After she thought for a while, she thanked God that they had food.  She thanked Him that she still had clothes.  And the more she thanked Him the more good things she thought of.  A big smile spread across her face as she mentioned all the good stuff.  She jumped up and gave her dad a big hug.”

“She learned how to have joy, didn’t she?”

“Yes, she did.  And she still plays that game.”

“How do you know her story so well?”

“Because, I was Sarah.”

– Take ten minutes right now, Dad, and let your sons and daughters play the joy game! –


Read the following scripture with the family:

Joy in Thanks

Acts 16:16-26

And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: the same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.  And this did she many days.

But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, and brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.  And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.


Why could Paul and Silas have been very grumpy?

Because they helped a young woman by casting out a demon, but men took them and beat them for it.

What do you think the prison was like?

Cold, dark, smelly.  There were rats and disease in those dungeons.

What kind of spiritual or mental prisons might we feel trapped by?

Doubt, fear, worry, deadlines, stress, financial problems, and various other crises.

What changed the preachers’ situation?

They chose to be joyful in spite of their situation.  They praised God anyway.

What can get you out of the things that might cage you up?

Praising God in spite of my circumstances.  Finding things to be thankful about even when everything looks bad.

Role Play: You lose a large amount of money you really needed.  This seems stressful and overwhelming.  What do you do to rest your spirit?


Memory Verse

I Thessalonians 5:16-17

Rejoice evermore.

Pray without ceasing.


If you have enjoyed the topics of this dad-son devotional, pass it on to another devoted dad and son.


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