Keys for Kids Devotional Feed

Twinkle, Twinkle, All the Stars

Bible Reading: Psalms 46:10; 119:162-171

Jasper leaned against a tree trunk, his hands behind his head. He loved the annual family camping trips. This year they'd seen deer when they hiked in the woods. They'd explored the river gorge and found fossils, and they'd climbed some of the rocks. They'd also fished and waded in the river. Jasper sighed with pleasure. "This sure is a cool place!"

It was too dark to see, but Jasper could hear the smile in his mom's voice. "You seem to be enjoying yourself in spite of no playgrounds or ice cream shops or TV or video games."

"Yeah." Jasper grinned.

Late that evening, the family sat contentedly by the smoldering campfire, listening to it crackle and hiss. Crickets chirped, and small creatures scurried by, rustling the leaves. In the background, the river murmured as it flowed over the rocks. "Wow! Just look at all those stars!" Jasper said as he gazed up at the sky. "We sure can't see this many stars at our house. They seem closer to us here than they do at home!"

The others laughed. "The stars aren't any closer," Dad told him. "But we're out in the country now, away from all the city lights. When there are a lot of bright lights around, we can't see the light of the fainter stars."

"Oh, I get it." Jasper smiled, still looking upward. "I like it here--it's peaceful. It's kind of nice to have it quiet--you can think out here."

"That's one of the reasons I like to come here too," said Grandpa. "The glaring lights of the city make it hard to see the stars, and the busyness of everyday demands can make it hard to see how God is working in our lives and blessing us. It's good to get away from the daily routine."

Dad nodded. "Yes, but we don't have to go camping in the country to do that. We can take a break from our busy routine each day to spend time with Jesus and concentrate on the truth and promises He shares with us in His Word."

Grandpa turned on his flashlight and searched through his duffel bag. "This would be a good time to do that," he said as he pulled out his Bible. "Tonight, let's read together and talk about some things God is telling us."

-Sherry L. Kuyt

How About You?
Is the busyness of everyday life interfering with your time with God? It's a good idea to set aside quiet time to spend with Jesus and remember what He's done for you. You don't have to go out to the country to do that. Find a place where you can take a break from your normal activities and pay attention to what God is saying as you read your Bible and talk with Him.

Today's Key Verse:
Be still, and know that I am God. (NKJV) (Psalm 46:10)

Today's Key Thought:
Spend time with God

The Right Fit

Bible Reading: Psalm 25:1-5

Kara went into the den where her parents were working on a puzzle. "I just got a text from Cadence," she announced glumly. "She told me she has a job for the summer--babysitting the Preston kids two afternoons each week."

Mom looked puzzled. "You don't sound very happy about it, but it seems like a good opportunity for Cadence."

"But I'd heard that Mrs. Preston wanted somebody to babysit, and I was going to ask her about it this weekend. I should have told Cadence I wanted it." Kara paused, then her face brightened. "If I text her back and tell her how much I want the job, maybe she'll let me have it."

"That wouldn't be fair to Cadence," said Mom. "Just be happy for your friend and pray about finding some other summer job."

"But why wouldn't God want me to have this job?" asked Kara. Then she glanced at her dad curiously. He had picked up a puzzle piece and had gotten out his pocket knife. He seemed to be considering cutting the puzzle piece. "Dad, what are you doing?" Kara asked.

"I tried to fit this puzzle piece into this empty spot," Dad explained, pointing to the puzzle. "It won't go in, but if I cut off this little bump, maybe I can make it fit."

"Dad! You know that won't work. Besides, you need that piece someplace else in the puzzle."

Mom laughed. "I think I know what your father is trying to say, Kara. That puzzle piece represents you."

"Right," said Dad. "Trying to jam this piece into a place where it doesn't fit is like you trying to get your own way about that job. Even if you succeeded, it wouldn't be a good fit because you would have hurt Cadence in order to get what you wanted."

Kara sighed. "I guess you're right."

Dad smiled at her. "I don't know what God has planned for you this summer, but I know His plans for you always involve caring about other people the way Jesus cares for us. Trust Him to help you be patient as you wait for another job opportunity to come along that fits His plans for you."

"Okay, I'll do that." Kara grinned. "Now let's figure out where that piece really goes!"

-Sherry L. Kuyt

How About You?
How patient are you when things don't go the way you want? Do you try to force them to go your way--even if others get hurt in the process? Don't insist on your own way when the pieces don't fit together. Be patient and wait for God to show you what to do next. He can use disappointing situations to bring you blessings and help you grow in your relationship with Jesus.

Today's Key Verse:
My soul waits for the Lord. (NKJV) (Psalm 130:6)

Today's Key Thought:
Don't insist on your own way

Your Own Way

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:9-16; Proverbs 3:1-6; Isaiah 53:6

Nathaniel gasped when he saw a quick flash of white through the trees. "A deer," he whispered. Carefully picking his way across sticks and fallen branches, Nathaniel quietly walked toward the deer. Glancing over his shoulder, he could still see his family's campsite, so he went on. When he got a little closer to the deer, it bounded off through the trees. Nathaniel ran after it, but soon it was lost from his sight. Nathaniel stopped beside a small stream. "Goodbye, Mr. Deer," he called as he turned back toward camp, but…where was camp? In one quick second Nathaniel knew he was lost.

Nathaniel's excitement turned to terror as he recalled the ranger's warning about bears in the area. Dear God, he prayed, I'm scared! I know I wasn't supposed to lose sight of our camp, but I forgot. I'm sorry! Please help me find my way back.

Just then Nathaniel heard a voice over the gurgling of the stream. "Nathaniel!" it called. "Nathaaaniel!"

"Dad!" Nathaniel called back. He ran toward the sound of the voice, and moments later, he was in his father's arms.

"Where have you been?" asked Dad. "We told you--" But the scolding stopped as Nathaniel's fears turned to tears. "It's okay, Nathaniel," Dad said, holding him tightly.

At family devotions around the campfire, Dad asked, "Nathaniel, what happened when you didn't follow our instructions today?"

"I got lost," said Nathaniel. "I knew I was supposed to stay close to our camp, and I didn't mean to disobey, but I just went my own way without thinking."

Dad nodded. "We all do that sometimes as Christians, don't we? Instead of obeying God, we do what we want instead."

"But you came and found me, Dad," Nathaniel said.

Dad smiled. "Yes, and Jesus does the same for us. He came to find us when we were lost sinners, taking the punishment for our sins Himself by dying on the cross so we could be saved. And He continues to show us love and forgiveness when we disobey Him and go our own way."

"I'm so glad you found me today, Dad" said Nathaniel. "And I'm glad Jesus comes to find us when we wander away."

-Daniel A. Burns

How About You?
Have you wandered away from God's path by doing things your way instead of His? The Bible says we've all gone astray and disobeyed God, and that's why Jesus came to earth--to save lost sinners. No matter how many times you wander away, Jesus offers you forgiveness. Stop going your own way and turn back to His loving arms that are waiting to welcome you home.

Today's Key Verse:
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost. (CSB) (Luke 19:10)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus offers forgiveness

The Secret to a Happy Life

Bible Reading: Galatians 6:7-10; Philippians 2:12-13

Mae was lost in thought as she helped her mother put away the dishes. "A penny for your thoughts," said Mom, nudging her.

"They're worth much more than that!" Mae said with a grin. "But since you're my mom, I'll give them to you for free. I was thinking of something my teacher said this morning at church. She said the only way for us--for Christians--to be really happy is to do what God wants us to do instead of doing what we want." Mae paused. "It doesn't make sense. How can we be happy if we're always doing things we don't want to do?"

"I agree that if the Christian life was just a matter of forcing ourselves to do unpleasant things, it certainly wouldn't be very enjoyable," said Mom. "But what makes you think you wouldn't want to do what God asks of you?"

Mae shrugged. "Well, if I'm doing what He asks instead of what I want, that means I don't really want to do what He tells me to, doesn't it?"

"Let's think about that," Mom said. "When you came home from school today, what did you do?"

"I went next door and helped Mrs. Grimes wash windows," Mae replied.

"You've never really liked washing windows, so were you miserable doing that?" asked Mom.

Mae shook her head. "No. I really like Mrs. Grimes. I did it because I was glad to help her, not because I had to. I actually really enjoyed it!"

"In other words, you helped her out of love," Mom explained. "That's the real secret of a happy Christian life. If we try to serve God out of a sense of duty, we'll just feel like we're giving up the things we want to do. But when we look to Jesus as our source of joy and contentment, we can serve Him out of love and gratitude. That's what makes the difference! When we remember that His Spirit is working in us, making our desires look more like His, we can feel joy as He leads us in serving Him and showing His love to others."

Mae nodded thoughtfully. "Jesus loves me and died for me, and He fills me with joy every day. I want to serve Him out of love for everything He's done for me."

-Sherry L. Kuyt

How About You?
Are you afraid God will ask you to do something you don't want to do? Sometimes He asks us to do things that are difficult, but remember that Jesus, the source of all joy and contentment, will be with you. Because He has given you His Spirit, you can serve Him out of love for all He's done for you. Trust Him to guide you in doing the things He wants you to do, knowing that He wants to fill your life with the joy that comes from sharing His love with others.

Today's Key Verse:
As we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all. (CSB) (Galatians 6:10)

Today's Key Thought:
Serve God out of love, not duty

A Better Friend

Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; John 15:12-15

Addison sat cross-legged on the bedroom floor, surrounded by snapshots. "Look, Mom!" she exclaimed. "Here's another picture of me and Mousie. I really loved that old stuffed animal."

As Addison shuffled through several old photos, her mother peeked over her shoulder. There were pictures of Addison swinging in the backyard, riding her first bike, and wearing a red Christmas dress. There were a number of pictures of her blowing out candles on birthday cakes. In many of the pictures, the little girl clutched a blue stuffed toy.

"Why did you love that grubby old bear so much?" asked Mom. She laughed. "It really was a bear, you know, not a mouse."

Addison grinned. "I know, but I thought he looked more like a mouse. I guess I loved him because he was a good guy to talk to. He just sat and listened." Addison could remember times when she had sobbed about her hurts into the fur of her faded blue friend. "I told Mousie all my secrets, and he seemed to understand--even though he never could tell me so or hug me back," she said as she gathered the pictures and put them into a shoebox.

"We could both use a friend like that right now, couldn't we?" said Mom.

"Yeah," said Addison. "It's been a little lonely since we moved here. There's a girl at school named Rani who I've gotten to know a little. I'm hoping we'll become good friends." Addison looked at her mom. "That reminds me--Rani invited me to come with her to something called vacation Bible school at her church in a few weeks. Can I go?"

"I think that would be fine, once I talk to Rani's parents," Mom said.

Addison nodded. "Rani told me she learns about Jesus at church. She said He's her best friend. Maybe He'll be my friend too--and yours too, Mom." She picked up a photo that had fallen to the floor and looked at it. "Maybe He's the kind of friend we can tell our secrets and hurts to," she said. "The kind of friend who understands what we're feeling. An even better friend than Mousie."

-Phyllis I. Klomparens

How About You?
Do you need a friend--one who you can share all your thoughts with? The Bible talks about the value of friendship. And it tells about the best friend of all--Jesus. He wants to be your friend forever. He gave His life to save you and make you His friend! He wants you to tell Him about all your joys and sorrows, your hopes and disappointments. Trust Him as your Savior today. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)

Today's Key Verse:
There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (NKJV) (Proverbs 18:24)

Today's Key Thought:
Jesus will be your best friend