Category Archives: The 9

Joy

What is Joy?

Joy comes from the Lord in good times and bad. It is a deep sense of well-being that is not determined by our circumstances. Gratitude and joy go hand in hand as we focus on Him and all that He has done for us.

What is Joy?

Joy comes from the Lord in good times and bad. It is a deep sense of well-being that is not determined by our circumstances. Gratitude and joy go hand in hand as we focus on Him and all that He has done for us.

  1. Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. How is God’s joy different than human happiness?
  2. Read Psalm 126:3. What do you rejoice in, that God has done for you?
  3. How has God’s joy made a difference in your life recently (see John 15:11)?
  4. Read Hebrews 12:2-3. In what ways can you reflect the joy of Jesus to others this week?

Best Use

A fun challenge to help couples discover how to nurture more joy in their lives and relationship.

Advance Prep

A Bible, two glass jars labeled with each spouse’s name and a bag of cotton balls.

The Reason

Joy is a gift we receive from God and a gift we can give to others. We become a better spouse by embracing and displaying the gift of joyfulness.

The Start

Read the words of Jesus in John 15:11. What is the source of our joy and what is it supposed to look like? Pray for each other that God would help you both grow in joy and choose joy.

The Challenge

See who can show the most joy in the next week. Try to catch each other choosing joy. Place a cotton ball in the jar for each time you see the Holy Spirit working in
them as they choose joy. Follow these simple rules:

  1. Both of you must diligently watch for joy in the other person. The best part of the challenge is catching each other doing something well.
  2. No faking joy, that is just bad form.
  3. You may not point out to the other person when you choose joy. They must notice without being told.
  4. No stealing cotton balls or withholding a cotton ball that is deserved.

The Source

Every morning, and as often as you remember, ask God to grow the fruit of joy in you. “Lord, I want Your joy to be in me and I desire that joy be evident in my choices and my attitude no matter the circumstance.”

The Prize

Agree upon a significant prize before you begin. The person with the most cotton balls at the end of the week wins. But in reality you both win as the challenge causes your marriage to grow in joy.

After the Challenge

Continue to seek the Lord to develop joy in your life. Feel free to start the challenge again and again.

Best Use

A family time activity exploring the difference between happiness and joy.

Advance Prep

Food coloring, a clear glass of water, cooking oil, a spoon, and a Bible.

Step One

Read John 15:11 and discuss the difference between joy and happiness. Joy is a gift from God that doesn’t change with circumstances. Happiness is often in response to happenings.

Step Two

Pour a couple of drops of food coloring in the cup of water and stir with the spoon. The food coloring colors the entire cup of water. The color in the water is just like the joy we have from God when we ask Him to come into our lives. Our joy is found in Him and what He has done for us.

Step Three

Discuss some things that seem to make you happy (e.g. winning a game, a good grade, a special treat, etc.). Happiness is good but temporary. Pour some oil into the glass of colored water. Notice how the oil just stays on the surface. The oil is like happiness. It is only temporary and is just on the surface. Would you rather have joy or happiness?

Step Four

Talk through the following questions:

  • What reasons do we have to be joyful?
  • Do others see joy in us even when we face disappointments?

Step Five

Conclude your time together with a family laugh party. Try to make each other laugh. (Consider tickles and watching funny videos, etc.) As the laughter starts it can quickly spread, getting bigger and louder. As we experience God’s joy it grows deeper and stronger in our lives and is contagious, spreading to others.

Pray

Ask God to help each member of your family connect to God’s joy in good times and in hard times.

Best Use

An activity with older children/teens to discover joy from a Biblical perspective and understand it is possible to have joy regardless of circumstances

Advance Prep

A Bible or device that has a Bible and a dry erase marker

Step One

Ask everyone what comes to mind when they hear the word joy. Ask if there’s a difference between joy and happiness.

Step Two

Read James 1:2-4. Would a person be happy when they are going through a trial or hard time? (Not likely.) So how could they have joy? What does this passage say about trials or the testing of your faith?

Step Three

Joy is available regardless of circumstances. What are some tough things you or those you know have experienced in the last few years? Did you/they seem to have joy in the midst of those tough times?

Step Four

Joy is not something we can just muster up on our own. We must look to the source of joy in order to receive it and practice it throughout life. Read Romans 15:13. How is God described in these verses? What is God filling a person with?

Step Five

According to Romans 15:13, God is full of hope and is the one who can fill you with joy. Using a dry erase marker, write the word JOY on your bathroom mirror. Every time you see it on your mirror over the next few weeks, remember that God can offer you the gift of joy.

Parents

For families with children, an optional Preschool and Elementary Reward System is available to use as a teaching aid to encourage your kids to live out each character trait.

Click here to request a reward system or pick one up at the Bethel Kids desk.

The 9 – Love

What is Love?

Love is a choice, not a feeling or emotion. It is a choice to meet the needs of others. We can learn about love from the One who is love.

What is Love?

Love is a choice, not a feeling or emotion. It is a choice to meet the needs of others. We can learn about love from the One who is love.

1. Read John 13:34-35 and 1 John 4:7-12. How did Jesus love you?

2. What do these verses tell us about how God’s love changes us?

3. How practically has God’s love changed you?

4. What is one way in which you can show God’s love this week?

Best Use

A date night discussion to engage in constructive conversation about growing more love into your relationship.

Advance Prep

A Bible, pen, notebook, and two rubber bands.

Step One

Spend five minutes working together to create a list of songs that include the word “love” in the title or lyrics. Google lists thousands; you may search if you get stuck.

Step Two

Agree on one song from your list to sing together in a karaoke setting (e.g. Play the song on your mobile device while in the car and belt it out together)!

Step Three

Discuss whether the song gives a healthy image of love.

  • Does it portray love as something based on emotions or feelings?
  • Does it represent love as a commitment to the well-being of another without conditions?
  • Does it show love as self-sacrifice or as self-centeredness?

Step Four

Read 1 John 4:7-12 where love is mentioned about a dozen times. Share one practical way you can “love one another” like God has loved us (e.g. forgive quickly rather than giving the silent treatment, sacrifice my wants for your needs, initiate affection rather than waiting for you to do it, etc.).

Step Five

Put the rubber bands on your wrists. Hold hands and ask God to use these as a reminder to demonstrate love in practical ways this week.

Best Use

A family activity to talk about how love grows when we stay connected to God

Advance Prep

A Bible and a deflated balloon

Step One

Read Galatians 5:22-23. Start your family time by discussing that the fruit of the Spirit is something that you will be talking about over the next several weeks. This first week will be a focus on the first fruit, love.

Step Two

Give each person 30 seconds to name things they love…they can be as simple as Legos, individual family members by name, favorite foods, fun activities, etc.

Step Three

Hold up the deflated balloon and explain that it represents human love. It is nice, but could be much more by connecting to God’s love. When He breathes into our version of love (the deflated balloon), it becomes something much, much better.

Step Four

Read 1 John 4:16. Talk about some ways that you can “live in God” (e.g. spending time in His Word, talking to Him in prayer, obeying and trusting His commands, etc.). As each way is shared, blow a small amount into the balloon to inflate it. When we connect to God, He helps us make our love more like His.

Step Five

Play a game with the inflated balloon. Throw the balloon in the air and whoever catches it shares one way they can show love to someone else. For a more challenging game: Take turns tapping it into the air and see how long the family can keep it up by naming one way to show love to each other with each tap. Try not to run out of ideas or the balloon will fall to the floor.

Step Six

Pray together asking God to help each of you stay connected to Him so that you will grow in love.

Best Use

An activity for a parent and teen to compare Biblical love with various things in the physical world

Advance Prep

A smartphone or computer with web access for each person, paper and pen/pencil for each person, and a favorite treat to award the winner

Step One

Gather at a table, living area or office in the home. Each participant will need a device to search online. You can use a family friendly search engine like kidrex.org for safety.

Step Two

Say, “Today we are going to have a contest to see who can list the most types of apples in three minutes. Use the agreed upon search engine to discover as many as you can. You must be able to show a picture of any apple you list if asked for proof.” Set a timer giving everyone three minutes to complete the task. Identify who won the contest and provide proof if needed. Award the treat to the winner. Ask the following questions…

  • What was your favorite apple and why?
  • What do all the apples have in common?
  • What was the most unique type of apple? Describe it.

Step Three

Now do the same activity WITHOUT a web search. Instead, open the Bible to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Using these hints, spend three minutes listing different expressions of love. Ask, “What do all these expressions of love have in common?” Examples may include “Not about self” and “Meetsanother’s need.”

Step Four

Have each person describe one way they can show love this week from the list in the 1 Corinthians passage.

Step Five

Finish your time praying together asking God to help each person show love in a variety of practical ways this week.

Parents

For families with children, an optional Preschool and Elementary Reward System is available to use as a teaching aid to encourage your kids to live out each character trait.

Click here to request a reward system or pick one up at the Bethel Kids desk.