Joy Hope (3 of 3) | Devotions with Dad

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Joy Hope (3 of 3)

For DAD Only:

Joy in Hope

Dad, God’s Word tells you to be “Rejoicing in hope” (Romans 12:12).  Do you have a hard time making a joy-filled home?  Then I wager that you also have a hopeless home.  You may think deep down, that no matter what you do, your kids will turn out to be perverts and drug addicts.  Such extreme hopelessness will undermine everything a person does.

The Bible says that those who are “without Christ” live with “no hope” (Ephesians 2:12).  However, God’s Word also says that believers should not sorrow “as others which have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13).

So what is hope? Expectancy.  Hope anticipates the ocean breeze a week before you leave for vacation.  Hope enjoys the festivities before the holiday has yet arrived.  Hope makes the birthday child wiggle with delight before he’s even opened the first present.

When your life is filled with anticipation of all that God has promised to do, you will “rejoice in the hope” of what’s coming (Romans 5:2).  This hope-filled rejoicing creates joy.  How else could a person face financial loss and still be joyful?  The hope that God will provide all our needs keeps our eyes off the ground.  The promise of God to supply all my needs puts a spring in my step and a sparkle in my eye.  Joy comes naturally to those who have hope.

What makes people hopeless? They look at the circumstances rather than the God who can improve their situation.  They look at the problem more than the solution.  They see the emptiness of the glass, rather than looking to the One who can refill it.

Some, when they hit the pits of life, choose to study the dirt under their feet.  They know how grimy it is.  They know the ratio of silt to clay.  They know every doctor’s report by heart.  They have mastered the worst case scenarios.  But the dregs of life produce no flavor of joy, only the bitterness of disillusionment.

The joyful dad hits the same pits as everyone else.  However, this type chooses to look up.  He scrutinizes every inch of sky above his hole in the ground.  He drinks in every wispy cloud and ray of sunshine.  In spite of a troublesome child, he says “Thank God I even have a child.”  When he can barely make the payments each month, he says “My God shall supply all my need according to His riches.”  He savors the richness of a life built on God’s promises for it is by “the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).  Hope can see beyond today’s high gas prices to heaven’s streets paved with gold.

Want a joyful home?  Learn to “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2) and teach your kids to do the same.


Dad, share this story with your kids:

Cookies, Clunks, and Comings

After breakfast the next morning, Misty and Grandma made cookies together in the kitchen.  Grandma mentioned the joy game.

“So, what can you think of to be joyful about?”

Misty thought for a while.  “I’m thankful that I’m here making cookies with you.”

“Good.  What else.”

“I thank God that you put nice fluffy pillows on my bed.  I like soft pillows.”

“Now you’re doing it.”

“I am thankful for… my brother.  Sometimes.”


“Okay, I’m thankful that he is nice to me and doesn’t beat me up like one of my friend’s brothers.  They fight all the time.  I’m thankful that my mom and dad don’t let us fight.”

“Oh, you have a mom and dad?”

“Grandma, of course I do.”

“Well, perhaps you could be thankful for them.”

“I’m glad I have a mom and dad.”


“I’m thankful that they love us.  I’m thankful that they will come back today.”

“And, did they leave you to sleep under a bridge somewhere?”

“No!”  Misty laughed.  “I thank Jesus that they brought us here where we could learn new things and eat good food.”

“See. You are getting good at this game.”

“I’m thankful we get to eat these cookies soon, too.”

“Yes.  Now, let’s leave them to cool for a while.”

“Okay, I’m feeling pretty joyful, Grandma, thank you.”

“You’re welcome, dear.”

“I’m going to see what Rusty is doing outside.  I think he’s back out there chasing frogs.”

“Okay, I’ll call you when the cookies are ready to eat.”

Misty went out the back door and skipped across the yard.  She saw Rusty right away, creeping along the stream, ready to pounce on something.  He jumped to grab at it.

“Did you get it?” Misty asked.

“No!  It got away.”

“Was it the big frog?”

“No, I want to catch that lizard, but he moves so fast.”


He pointed and Misty looked closely.  “Oh, I see him by that rock.  Is that safe?  He’s not poisonous is he?”

“I don’t think so, but he is so fast.  Can you help me?”

“Do what?” Misty asked, stepping back from the stream.

“Go stand down that way so you scare him.  If he stops, I might be able to catch him.  I don’t want him going under that little bridge or I may not be able to find him at all.”


Misty walked downstream and waited.  Rusty started chasing the lizard again with his hands out, ready to grab it.  It came running right by Misty, who screamed, but it kept on going.  Rusty followed close behind as it dodged around rocks and through tufts of grass alongside the little creek.

At last, Rusty followed the little creature under the bridge and snatched it in both his hands.  “I got it!” he yelled as he stood up.

Forgetting, he was under a bridge, Rusty banged the back of his head against the bottom of it.  “Ouch!” he yelled.

“What happened?  Did it bite you?” Misty asked.

“No, I hit my head.  Ow!”  Rusty held onto the back of his head as he walked out from under the bridge.

“Are you bleeding?”

“I hope not.”

“We better go show Grandma.”

They started for the house, and Misty asked, “Where’s the lizard?”

Rusty took his hands away from his head and looked at them.  “Aw, I must have dropped it when I hit my head.  Now I lost him for good!”  He turned at looked back toward the stream.

“Come on, Grandma needs to see your head.”

“Oh, this just stinks.”

“You’ll catch it again.”

Misty pushed the door open for her brother and called for her grandma.  They both explained to her what happened.

Grandma looked his head over.  “Well, you’re going to have a bump there, and you have scraped the skin a little.  Let me get some first aid stuff.”

Rusty sat down in a kitchen chair while Grandma dug out her medical supplies.

“This is dumb.  Why did I have to hit my head.”

“Now, now.  Let’s not have a bad attitude.  I’ve been teaching your sister about joy, Rusty.”

“I don’t feel like joy right now.”

Grandma opened her box and took out a little brown bottle.  She dabbed it at his wound.

Misty said, “Grandma taught me that I can be joyful by finding things to be thankful for.  I thought of my soft bed, the good food, and things like that.”

“I can’t think of anything good right now, my head hurts too bad.”

Grandma squeezed some paste onto his scrape and smoothed it out.  “You don’t just have to think about good things that have happened to be joyful.  Hope makes us joyful as well.”

“What do you mean?” Misty asked.

“Well, rather than just sitting here thinking about the bad things that sometimes happen to us, we can think of the good things that will come in the future.”

“I lost the lizard,” Rusty said.

“That’s not a positive thing,” Misty scolded.

“My head hurts.”  Rusty squeezed his eyes shut.

“He’s not getting it, Grandma.”

“Rusty,” Grandma said, “what good thing can you think of that will happen in the future?”  She closed up the first aid box.

“I won’t think of anything good until my head is better.”

“Excellent,” Grandma said with a big smile.  “You found something positive—your head will get better.”

Rusty squinted at her.

“What else?” she asked.

“I’m going to catch that lizard again.”

“Good.  What else can you look forward to?”

“Some of those cookies you made, I guess.”

“Hey, see, you are feeling better already.”

“I guess so.”

The phone rang.  Grandma answered it, talked for a little bit, and then passed the phone to Misty.  “It’s your parents,” she said.

Misty talked to them for a couple minutes, and then passed the phone to Rusty.  When he was through, he hung up and shouted, “Woo-hoo, they are going to be here in three hours!”

“Really?” Grandma said with a big smile.

“And they got stuff for us, too!”  Rusty got up from his chair.  “I wonder what they got.”

“Last time, they got candy sticks,” Misty said.

“I wonder if they got that again, or if they got us new toys.”

“Rusty,” Grandma said, “you seem pretty joyful all of a sudden.”

“Well, they are going to be here soon!”

“Great,” she laughed.  “See how much better joy makes you feel?  Does your head still hurt?”

“Not as bad,” he said with a shrug.

“Well, let’s have some cookies, and maybe we can play a game before your mom and dad get here.  I’m glad you’ve both learned some good lessons about being joyful.”

“Me, too,” Misty said.

“You know that you won’t always have your parents coming home to make you excited.  Sometimes life isn’t very exciting at all.  Sometimes you can be so low there is nothing to be happy about.  But we can always be happy because Someone has promised to come back for us.  Do you know who that is?”


Answer Grandma’s question.

Jesus.  He’s coming back so we can live with Him forever.  That is a reason we can be joyful every day.

What did you learn from Rusty’s experience?  What can you do next time everything seems terrible?

Find things to be joyful about.  Today isn’t the last day of my life.  Things will get better.

Have you ever gone through a sad time where you had to force yourself to think about good things?  Tell us about it.

In this story, Rusty learned to be joyful about things that will happen.  What had Misty just learned?

To be joyful about things that have already happened.

Will we always find things to make us joyful?

No.  Not that good things cease to exist, but because we may miss them.

Even if we can’t think of anything to be joyful about, why can we still have joy?

Because we can focus on Jesus.  Having Him as a friend is better than any trouble or problem we face.


Read the following scripture with the family:

Triumphal Entry

Matthew 21:1-10 (NKJ)

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.   And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

“Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.'”

So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.         They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.

And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!

‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’

Hosanna in the highest!”

And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”


The people were excited when Jesus came into town as the Messiah.  How much more rejoicing do you think there will be when He comes again?

Some people are afraid of the Lord’s return.  Should we be?

No, not if we are ready to go.

What are some situations in life that caused you to take comfort in the promise of the Lord’s Return?

Role Play: You are in a tragic accident where you become paralyzed from the neck down.  All your family members die.  How could you stay joyful in a life like that?


Memory Verse

I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice evermore.

Pray without ceasing.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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